Despite the significant advance in our understanding of the molecular basis of light entrainment of the circadian clock in Drosophila, the underlying genetic architecture is still largely unknown. The aim of this study was to identify loci associated with variation in circadian photosensitivity, which are important for the evolution of this trait. We have used complementary approaches that combined quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, complementation testing, and transcriptome profiling to dissect this variation. We identified a major QTL on chromosome 2, which was subsequently fine mapped using deficiency complementation mapping into 2 smaller regions spanning 139 genes, some of which are known to be involved in functions that have been previously implicated in light entrainment. Two genes implicated with the clock and located within that interval, timeless and cycle, failed to complement the QTL, indicating that alleles of these genes contribute to the variation in light response. Specifically, we find that the timeless s/ls polymorphism that has been previously shown to constitute a latitudinal cline in Europe is also segregating in our recombinant inbred lines and is contributing to the phenotypic variation in light sensitivity. We also profiled gene expression in 2 recombinant inbred strains that differ significantly in their photosensitivity and identified a total of 368 transcripts that showed differential expression (false discovery rate < 0.1). Of 131 transcripts that showed a significant recombinant inbred line by treatment interaction (i.e., putative expression QTL), 4 are located within QTL2.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Christopher Talbot and Dr. Anne Genissel for their QTL mapping advice. We also thank the 2 anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions helped improve and clarify this article. This work was funded by a BBSRC grant BB/G02085X/1 to E.T.
© 2017, © 2017 The Author(s).
- QTL mapping
- circadian clock
- light response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)