Regulation of sleep homeostasis by sex pheromones
Manuscript under review.
Beckwith EJ, Geissmann Q, Gilestro GF
In all animals, sleep pressure is under continuous tight regulation. It is universally accepted that this regulation arises from a two-process model, integrating a circadian controller and a homeostatic controller. Here we explore the role of environmental social signals as third, parallel controller of sleep homeostasis and sleep pressure. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model, we show that sleep pressure after sleep deprivation can be counteracted by the mere presence of aphrodisiac pheromones. By interfering with the pheromone sensing neuronal circuit we show that this inhibition of sleep rebound after sleep deprivation is specific and can be elicited by modulating the activity of sensory neurons in the leg of a male fly. We propose that this paradigm could be used to introduce and study a third process of sleep regulation, “process E”.