Ravi Allada Molecular genetics of circadian rhythms and sleep

Research Interests

Our research is focused on the circadian regulation of sleep behavior using the fruit fly Drosophila and incorporates a variety of approaches including biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell culture, electrophysiology, anatomy, and behavior.

Fly genetics has uncovered the molecular logic of circadian clocks. They consist of clock proteins that feed back and control their own transcription. Remarkably, highly conserved clocks exist in humans. We are interested in how these molecular networks develop. How does phosphorylation set the speed of the clock? How do these feedback loops influence neuronal activity and output?

Astonishingly, fruit flies exhibit periods of inactivity with many of the cardinal features of mammalian sleep, including homeostatic control and similar responses to drugs such as caffeine. We have identified a fly sleep center in a region of the brain also important in long-term memory known as the mushroom bodies (MB). We are interested in understanding how the circadian clock and sleep loss influence the MB, how the MB influence sleep, and what are the links between sleep and learning? Studies in the fly raise the possibility of understanding the elusive function of sleep at the molecular level.

Selected Publications

A Conserved Bicycle Model for Circadian Clock Control of Membrane Excitability. Flourakis M, Kula-Eversole E, Hutchison AL, Han TH, Aranda K, Moose DL, White KP, Dinner AR, Lear BC, Ren D, Diekman CO, Raman IM, and Allada R. Cell. 2015 August 13;162(4):836-848.

A Systems Approach Identifies Networks and Genes Linking Sleep and Stress: Implications for Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Jiang P, Scarpa JR, Fitzpatrick K, Losic B, Gao VD, Hao K, Summa KC, Yang HS, Zhang B, Allada R, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW, and Kasarskis A. Cell Reports. 2015 May 5;11(5):835-848.

Improved Statistical Methods Enable Greater Sensitivity in Rhythm Detection for Genome-Wide Data. Hutchison AL, Maienschein-Cline M, Chiang AH, Tabei SMA, Gudjonson H, Bahroos N, Allada R, and Dinner AR. PLoS Computational Biology. 2015 March 20;11(3):e1004094.

Dual PDF Signaling Pathways Reset Clocks Via TIMELESS and Acutely Excite Target Neurons to Control Circadian BehaviorSeluzicki A, Flourakis M, Kula-Eversole E, Zhang L, Kilman V, and Allada R. PLoS Biology. 2014 March 18;12(3):e1001810.

Emerging roles for post-transcriptional regulation in circadian clocks. Lim C and Allada R. Nature Neuroscience. 2013 November;16(11):1544-1550.

View all publications by Ravi Allada listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.