Dopamine modulates the rest period length without perturbation of its power law distribution in Drosophila melanogaster

Taro Ueno, Naoki Masuda, Shoen Kume, Kazuhiko Kume*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We analyzed the effects of dopamine signaling on the temporal organization of rest and activity in Drosophila melanogaster. Locomotor behaviors were recorded using a video-monitoring system, and the amounts of movements were quantified by using an image processing program. We, first, confirmed that rest bout durations followed long-tailed (i.e., power-law) distributions, whereas activity bout durations did not with a strict method described by Clauset et al. We also studied the effects of circadian rhythm and ambient temperature on rest bouts and activity bouts. The fraction of activity significantly increased during subjective day and at high temperature, but the power-law exponent of the rest bout distribution was not affected. The reduction in rest was realized by reduction in long rest bouts. The distribution of activity bouts did not change drastically under the above mentioned conditions. We then assessed the effects of dopamine. The distribution of rest bouts became less long-tailed and the time spent in activity significantly increased after the augmentation of dopamine signaling. Administration of a dopamine biosynthesis inhibitor yielded the opposite effects. However, the distribution of activity bouts did not contribute to the changes. These results suggest that the modulation of locomotor behavior by dopamine is predominantly controlled by changing the duration of rest bouts, rather than the duration of activity bouts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32007
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb 16
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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