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A CRITICAL PERIOD OF SLEEP FOR DEVELOPMENT OF COURTSHIP CIRCUITRY AND BEHAVIOR IN DROSOPHILA
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.
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