Skip to main content

Mechanosensation and the circadian clock: a reciprocal analysis

Objective

All forms of life adjust themselves to the daily rhythms of their environments using endogenous oscillators collectively referred to as circadian clocks. Peripheral and central body clocks exist, which both require extrinsic information (e.g. light or temperature changes) to keep in sync with the geophysical cycle (entrainment). In addition, intrinsic cues (e.g. activity levels) have been linked to clock entrainment. Recently, we could show that activation of proprioceptors is sufficient to entrain the central clock of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Proprioceptors are mechanosensors that monitor the positions, and relative movements, of an animal’s own body parts. The existence of proprioceptive entrainment pathways has significant implications; it implies that an animal’s ‘clock time’ is computed by integrating, and weighting, various external and internal conditions, suggesting the existence of external and internal time.
Using Drosophila, I will investigate the relationship between mechanosensory and circadian systems in a dual, and bidirectional, approach. The project’s first aim is to dissect the neurobiological bases of proprioceptive clock entrainment (i) identifying the specific stimulus requirements for effective entrainment, (ii) determining its mechanosensory pathways and, in a combined computational and experimental strategy, (iii) quantifying the precise contributions of an animal’s activity to its sense of time. The project’s second aim, in turn, is to unravel the roles of the clock, and clock genes, for the function of mechanosensory systems. Previous studies have linked the clock to noise vulnerability in mammalian ears, and clock genes to regeneration in avian ears. Our own preliminary data reveal severe mechanosensory defects in flies mutant for core clock genes. I will use the Drosophila ear as a unifying model to analyse the specific roles of the clock, and clock genes, for the function of mechanotransducer systems.

Host institution

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
Net EU contribution
€ 1 885 042,24
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

See on map

Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 1 885 042,24
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London

See on map

Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
Third-party

Legal entity other than a subcontractor which is affiliated or legally linked to a participant. The entity carries out work under the conditions laid down in the Grant Agreement, supplies goods or provides services for the action, but did not sign the Grant Agreement. A third party abides by the rules applicable to its related participant under the Grant Agreement with regard to eligibility of costs and control of expenditure.

THE FRANCIS CRICK INSTITUTE LIMITED
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 14 506,76
Address
1 Midland Road
NW1 1AT London

See on map

Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00