MiR-124 regulates diverse aspects of rhythmic behavior in Drosophila

Daniel L. Garaulet, Kailiang Sun, Wanhe Li, Jiayu Wen, Alexandra M. Panzarino, Jenna L. O’Neil, P. Robin Hiesinger, Michael W. Young, Eric C. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Circadian clocks enable organisms to anticipate and adapt to fluctuating environmental conditions. Despite substantial knowledge of central clock machineries, we have less understanding of how the central clock’s behavioral outputs are regulated. Here, we identify Drosophila miR-124 as a critical regulator of diurnal activity. During normal light/dark cycles, mir-124 mutants exhibit profoundly abnormal locomotor activity profiles, including loss of anticipatory capacities at morning and evening transitions. Moreover, mir-124 mutants exhibited striking behavioral alterations in constant darkness (DD), including a temporal advance in peak activity. Nevertheless, anatomical and functional tests demonstrate a normal circadian pacemaker in mir-124 mutants, indicating this miRNA regulates clock output. Among the extensive miR-124 target network, heterozygosity for targets in the BMP pathway substantially corrected the evening activity phase shift in DD. Thus, excess BMP signaling drives specific circadian behavioral output defects in mir-124 knock-outs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3414-3421
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 23 2016


  • Activity mode
  • Activity phase
  • BMP signaling
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Drosophila
  • MicroRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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