ERK phosphorylation regulates sleep and plasticity in Drosophila

William M. Vanderheyden, Jason R. Gerstner, Anne Tanenhaus, Jerry C. Yin, Paul J. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Given the relationship between sleep and plasticity, we examined the role of Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in regulating baseline sleep, and modulating the response to waking experience. Both sleep deprivation and social enrichment increase ERK phosphorylation in wild-type flies. The effects of both sleep deprivation and social enrichment on structural plasticity in the LNvs can be recapitulated by expressing an active version of ERK (UAS-ERK SEM) pan-neuronally in the adult fly using GeneSwitch ( Gsw) Gsw-elav-GAL4. Conversely, disrupting ERK reduces sleep and prevents both the behavioral and structural plasticity normally induced by social enrichment. Finally, using transgenic flies carrying a cAMP response Element (CRE)-luciferase reporter we show that activating ERK enhances CRE-Luc activity while disrupting ERK reduces it. These data suggest that ERK phosphorylation is an important mediator in transducing waking experience into sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81554
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2013


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