Mammalian T-type Ca 2+ channels are encoded by three separate genes (Ca v 3.1, 3.2, 3.3). These channels are reported to be sleep stabilizers important in the generation of the delta rhythms of deep sleep, but controversy remains. The identification of precise physiological functions for the T-type channels has been hindered, at least in part, by the potential for compensation between the products of these three genes and a lack of specific pharmacological inhibitors. Invertebrates have only one T-type channel gene, but its functions are even less well-studied. We cloned Ca-α1T, the only Ca v 3 channel gene in Drosophila melanogaster, expressed it in Xenopus oocytes and HEK-293 cells, and confirmed it passes typical T-type currents. Voltage-clamp analysis revealed the biophysical properties of Ca-α1T show mixed similarity, sometimes falling closer to Ca v 3.1, sometimes to Ca v 3.2, and sometimes to Ca v 3.3. We found Ca-α1T is broadly expressed across the adult fly brain in a pattern vaguely reminiscent of mammalian T-type channels. In addition, flies lacking Ca-α1T show an abnormal increase in sleep duration most pronounced during subjective day under continuous dark conditions despite normal oscillations of the circadian clock. Thus, our study suggests invertebrate T-type Ca 2+ channels promote wakefulness rather than stabilizing sleep.
|State||Published - 9 Dec 2015|