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Sleep and Rhythms Projects

Cryptochrome Is a Regulator of Synaptic Plasticity in the Visual System of Drosophila melanogaster

Damulewicz M, Mazzotta GM, Sartori E, Rosato E, Costa R, Pyza EM

Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 2017

Drosophila CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) is a blue light sensitive protein with a key role in circadian photoreception. A main feature of CRY is that light promotes an interaction with the circadian protein TIMELESS (TIM) resulting in their ubiquitination and degradation, a mechanism that contributes to the synchronization of the circadian clock to the environment. Moreover, CRY participates in non-circadian functions such as magnetoreception, modulation of neuronal firing, phototransduction and regulation of synaptic plasticity. In the present study we used co-immunoprecipitation, yeast 2 hybrid (Y2H) and in situ proximity ligation assay (PLA) to show that CRY can physically associate with the presynaptic protein BRUCHPILOT (BRP) and that CRY-BRP complexes are located mainly in the visual system. Additionally, we present evidence that light-activated CRY may decrease BRP levels in photoreceptor termini in the distal lamina, probably targeting BRP for degradation.

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