Circadian light-input pathways in Drosophila

Taishi Yoshii, Christiane Hermann-Luibl, Charlotte Helfrich-Föorster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Light is the most important environmental cue to entrain the circadian clock in most animals. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the light entrainment mechanisms of the clock have been wellstudied. The Drosophila brain contains approximately 150 neurons that rhythmically express circadian clock genes. These neurons are called “clock neurons” and control behavioral activity rhythms. Many clock neurons express the Cryptochrome (CRY) protein, which is sensitive to UV and blue light, and thus enables clock neurons deep in the brain to directly perceive light. In addition to the CRY protein, external photoreceptors in the Drosophila eyes play an important role in circadian light-input pathways. Recent studies have provided new insights into the mechanisms that integrate these light inputs into the circadian network of the brain. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge on the light entrainment pathways in the Drosophila circadian clock.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Circadian clock
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Cryptochrome
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Light entrainment
  • Photoreceptor
  • Pigmentdispersing factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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