Stephen Baccus, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Mosquito cryptochromes expressed in Drosophila confer species-specific behavioral light responses
2022; 32 (17): 3731-+
Cryptochrome (CRY) is a short-wavelength light-sensitive photoreceptor expressed in a subset of circadian neurons and eyes in Drosophila that regulates light-evoked circadian clock resetting. Acutely, light evokes rapid electrical excitation of the ventral lateral subset of circadian neurons and confers circadian-modulated avoidance behavioral responses to short-wavelength light. Recent work shows dramatically different avoidance versus attraction behavioral responses to short-wavelength light in day-active versus night-active mosquitoes and that these behavioral responses are attenuated by CRY protein degradation by constant light exposure in mosquitoes. To determine whether CRY1s mediate species-specific coding for behavioral and electrophysiological light responses, we used an "empty neuron" approach and transgenically expressed diurnal Aedes aegypti (AeCRY1) versus nocturnal Anopheles gambiae (AgCRY1) in a cry-null Drosophila background. AeCRY1 is much less light sensitive than either AgCRY1 or DmCRY as shown by partial behavioral rhythmicity following constant light exposure. Remarkably, expression of nocturnal AgCRY1 confers low survival to constant white light as does expression of AeCRY1 to a lesser extent. AgCRY1 mediates significantly stronger electrophysiological cell-autonomous responses to 365 nm ultraviolet (UV) light relative to AeCRY1. AgCRY1 expression mediates electrophysiological sensitivity to 635 nm red light, whereas AeCRY1 does not, consistent with species-specific mosquito red light responses. AgCRY1 and DmCRY mediate intensity-dependent avoidance behavior to UV light at different light intensity thresholds, whereas AeCRY1 does not, thus mimicking mosquito and fly behaviors. These findings highlight CRY as a key non-image-forming visual photoreceptor that mediates physiological and behavioral light responses in a species-specific fashion.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2022.07.021
View details for Web of Science ID 000889279800006
View details for PubMedID 35914532
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9810238