Annika Barber

Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

Coordination of neuropeptide signaling in the Drosophila clock output network

12:00 pm, Monday 25 July 2022

Location: Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building

Abstract:  The Drosophila clock network is a network of peptidergic oscillators, with neuropeptides coordinating network activity and conveying time-of-day information to circadian output regions that regulate circadian behavior and physiology. While connectivity within the clock network is well-established, how the clock conveys time-of-day information to output regions remains unknown. Both clock neurons, and neurons within the pars intercerebralis (PI), a major circadian output hub, secrete multiple neuropeptides and small molecule neurotransmitters that may work in concert. Using clock-neuron-specific CRISPR, we have identified novel output neuropeptides that play sex-specific roles in regulating circadian rest-activity behavior. Clock neurons provide time-of-day specific signals to the PI via both neuropeptides and small molecule neurotransmitters. Further, we have identified intra-PI connectivity which allows integration of time-of-day cues with additional sensory inputs to guide appropriate behavior selection in complex environments.

Biography: Annika Barber was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. In the lab of Dr. Amita Sehgal, her research focused on understanding the coordination of competing and complementary behaviors such as circadian rhythms, sleep, feeding, and mating in the pars intercerebralis, a proto-hypothalamic region in Drosophila. Annika received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Thomas Jefferson University and her B.S. in Biology from Bryn Athyn College.