Zhifeng Yue

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia, United States

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Publications (8)107.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Most animals sleep more early in life than in adulthood, but the function of early sleep is not known. Using Drosophila, we found that increased sleep in young flies was associated with an elevated arousal threshold and resistance to sleep deprivation. Excess sleep results from decreased inhibition of a sleep-promoting region by a specific dopaminergic circuit. Experimental hyperactivation of this circuit in young flies results in sleep loss and lasting deficits in adult courtship behaviors. These deficits are accompanied by impaired development of a single olfactory glomerulus, VA1v, which normally displays extensive sleep-dependent growth after eclosion. Our results demonstrate that sleep promotes normal brain development that gives rise to an adult behavior critical for species propagation and suggest that rapidly growing regions of the brain are most susceptible to sleep perturbations early in life.
    Science 04/2014; 344(6181):269-74. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we report a new protein involved in the homeostatic regulation of sleep in Drosophila. We conducted a forward genetic screen of chemically mutagenized flies to identify short-sleeping mutants and found one, redeye (rye) that shows a severe reduction of sleep length. Cloning of rye reveals that it encodes a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α subunit required for Drosophila sleep. Levels of RYE oscillate in light-dark cycles and peak at times of daily sleep. Cycling of RYE is independent of a functional circadian clock, but rather depends upon the sleep homeostat, as protein levels are up-regulated in short-sleeping mutants and also in wild type animals following sleep deprivation. We propose that the homeostatic drive to sleep increases levels of RYE, which responds to this drive by promoting sleep. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01473.001.
    eLife Sciences 01/2014; 3:e01473.
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep-wake cycles break down with age, but the causes of this degeneration are not clear. Using a Drosophila model, we addressed the contribution of circadian mechanisms to this age-induced deterioration. We found that in old flies, free-running circadian rhythms (behavioral rhythms assayed in constant darkness) have a longer period and an unstable phase before they eventually degenerate. Surprisingly, rhythms are weaker in light-dark cycles and the circadian-regulated morning peak of activity is diminished under these conditions. On a molecular level, aging results in reduced amplitude of circadian clock gene expression in peripheral tissues. However, oscillations of the clock protein PERIOD (PER) are robust and synchronized among different clock neurons, even in very old, arrhythmic flies. To improve rhythms in old flies, we manipulated environmental conditions, which can have direct effects on behavior, and also tested a role for molecules that act downstream of the clock. Coupling temperature cycles with a light-dark schedule or reducing expression of protein kinase A (PKA) improved behavioral rhythms and consolidated sleep. Our data demonstrate that a robust molecular timekeeping mechanism persists in the central pacemaker of aged flies, and reducing PKA can strengthen behavioral rhythms.
    Aging cell 01/2012; 11(3):428-38. · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep is a whole-organism phenomenon accompanied by global changes in neural activity. We previously identified SLEEPLESS (SSS) as a glycosylphosphatidyl inositol-anchored protein required for sleep in Drosophila. Here we found that SSS is critical for regulating the sleep-modulating potassium channel Shaker. SSS and Shaker shared similar expression patterns in the brain and specifically affected each other's expression levels. sleepless (sss) loss-of-function mutants exhibited altered Shaker localization, reduced Shaker current density and slower Shaker current kinetics. Transgenic expression of sss in sss mutants rescued defects in Shaker expression and activity cell-autonomously and suggested that SSS functions in wake-promoting, cholinergic neurons. In heterologous cells, SSS accelerated the kinetics of Shaker currents and was co-immunoprecipitated with Shaker, suggesting that SSS modulates Shaker activity via a direct interaction. SSS is predicted to belong to the Ly-6/neurotoxin superfamily, suggesting a mechanism for regulation of neuronal excitability by endogenous toxin-like molecules.
    Nature Neuroscience 12/2009; 13(1):69-75. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed stimulants in the world and has been proposed to promote wakefulness by antagonizing function of the adenosine A2A receptor. Here, we show that chronic administration of caffeine reduces and fragments sleep in Drosophila and also lengthens circadian period. To identify the mechanisms underlying these effects of caffeine, we first generated mutants of the only known adenosine receptor in flies (dAdoR), which by sequence is most similar to the mammalian A2A receptor. Mutants lacking dAdoR have normal amounts of baseline sleep, as well as normal homeostatic responses to sleep deprivation. Surprisingly, these mutants respond normally to caffeine. On the other hand, the effects of caffeine on sleep and circadian rhythms are mimicked by a potent phosphodiesterase inhibitor, IBMX (3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine). Using in vivo fluorescence resonance energy transfer imaging, we find that caffeine induces widespread increase in cAMP levels throughout the brain. Finally, the effects of caffeine on sleep are blocked in flies that have reduced neuronal PKA activity. We suggest that chronic administration of caffeine promotes wakefulness in Drosophila, at least in part, by inhibiting cAMP phosphodiesterase activity.
    Journal of Neuroscience 10/2009; 29(35):11029-37. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep is an essential process conserved from flies to humans. The importance of sleep is underscored by its tight homeostatic control. Through a forward genetic screen, we identified a gene, sleepless, required for sleep in Drosophila. The sleepless gene encodes a brain-enriched, glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein. Loss of SLEEPLESS protein caused an extreme (>80%) reduction in sleep; a moderate reduction in SLEEPLESS had minimal effects on baseline sleep but markedly reduced the amount of recovery sleep after sleep deprivation. Genetic and molecular analyses revealed that quiver, a mutation that impairs Shaker-dependent potassium current, is an allele of sleepless. Consistent with this finding, Shaker protein levels were reduced in sleepless mutants. We propose that SLEEPLESS is a signaling molecule that connects sleep drive to lowered membrane excitability.
    Science 07/2008; 321(5887):372-6. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to characterize the genetic mechanisms underlying sleep, we have carried out a large-scale screen in Drosophila to identify short-sleeping mutants. The objectives of this study were as follows: (1) characterize the phenotypes of the shortest-sleeping mutants; (2) examine whether changes in arousal threshold or sleep homeostasis underlie short-sleeping phenotypes; (3) clone a gene affected in one of the shortest sleepers; and (4) investigate whether circadian mutants can be identified using light:dark (L:D) locomotor data obtained for studying sleep behavior. Locomotor activity was measured using the Drosophila Activity Monitoring System in a 12:12 L:D cycle. Drosophila research laboratory. Participants: Adult flies from the 2nd chromosome Zuker collection, which contain mutations in most of the nonessential genes on the Drosophila 2nd chromosome. Our analysis of sleep characteristics suggests that daily activity (but not waking activity) correlates with daily sleep time and that defects in sleep maintenance are more common than defects in sleep initiation. Our shortest sleepers have intact or increased sleep rebound following sleep deprivation but show reduced thresholds for arousal. Molecular analysis of one of the short-sleeping lines indicates that it is a novel allele of a dopamine transporter (DAT). Finally, we describe a novel approach for identifying circadian mutants using L:D data. Our data suggest that most short-sleeping mutant phenotypes in Drosophila are characterized by an inability to stay asleep, most likely because of a reduced arousal threshold.
    Sleep 05/2008; 31(4):465-72. · 5.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythms can be regulated by many environmental and endogenous factors. We show here a sensitivity of circadian clock function to oxidative stress that is revealed in flies lacking the foxo gene product. When exposed to oxidative stress, wild-type flies showed attenuated clock gene cycling in peripheral tissues, whereas foxo mutants also lost behavioral rhythms driven by the central clock. FOXO is expressed predominantly in the fat body, and transgenic expression in this tissue rescued the mutant behavioral phenotype, suggesting that foxo has non-cell-autonomous effects on central circadian clock function. Overexpression of signaling molecules that affect FOXO activity, such as the insulin receptor or Akt, in the fat body also increased susceptibility of the central clock to oxidative stress. Finally, foxo mutants showed a rapid decline in rest:activity rhythms with age, supporting the idea that the increase of oxidative stress contributes to age-associated degeneration of behavioral rhythms and indicating the importance of FOXO in mitigating this deterioration. Together these data demonstrate that metabolism affects central clock function and provide a link among insulin signaling, oxidative stress, aging, and circadian rhythms.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2007; 104(40):15899-904. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

264 Citations
107.02 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2014
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • Division of Sleep Medicine
      Philadelphia, PA, United States