Sha Liu

Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute

Single-Cell Transcriptomics Reveals that Glial Cells Integrate Homeostatic and Circadian Processes To Drive Sleep-Wake Cycles

12:00 pm, Thursday 18 May 2023

Location: Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building

Abstract: The sleep-wake cycle is determined by circadian and sleep homeostatic processes. However, the molecular impact of these processes and their interaction in different brain cell populations remains unknown. To fill this gap, we profiled the single-cell transcriptome of adult Drosophila brains across the sleep-wake cycle and four circadian times. We show cell type-specific transcriptomic changes, with glia displaying the largest variation. Glia are also among the few cell types whose gene expression correlates with both sleep homeostat and circadian clock. The sleep-wake cycle and sleep drive level affect expression of clock gene regulators in glia, while diminishing the circadian clock specifically in glia impairs homeostatic sleep rebound after sleep deprivation. These findings offer a comprehensive view of the effects of sleep homeostatic and circadian processes on distinct cell types in an entire animal brain and reveal glia as an interaction site of these two processes to determine sleep-wake dynamics.

Biography: Sha Liu is a group leader and assistant professor at VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain and Disease Research. His work focuses on sleep’s cellular and synaptic functions, using fruit flies as a model system. Before starting his lab in Belgium in 2018, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mark Wu’s lab at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied the circadian and homeostatic regulation of sleep in Drosophila.