Hub-organized parallel circuits of central circadian pacemaker neurons for visual photoentrainment in Drosophila

Meng Tong Li, Li Hui Cao, Na Xiao, Min Tang, Bowen Deng, Tian Yang, Taishi Yoshii, Dong Gen Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Circadian rhythms are orchestrated by a master clock that emerges from a network of circadian pacemaker neurons. The master clock is synchronized to external light/dark cycles through photoentrainment, but the circuit mechanisms underlying visual photoentrainment remain largely unknown. Here, we report that Drosophila has eye-mediated photoentrainment via a parallel pacemaker neuron organization. Patch-clamp recordings of central circadian pacemaker neurons reveal that light excites most of them independently of one another. We also show that light-responding pacemaker neurons send their dendrites to a neuropil called accessary medulla (aMe), where they make monosynaptic connections with Hofbauer–Buchner eyelet photoreceptors and interneurons that transmit compound-eye signals. Laser ablation of aMe and eye removal both abolish light responses of circadian pacemaker neurons, revealing aMe as a hub to channel eye inputs to central circadian clock. Taken together, we demonstrate that the central clock receives eye inputs via hub-organized parallel circuits in Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4247
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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