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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017, Article ID 4723836, 28 pages
Review Article

Drosophila: An Emergent Model for Delineating Interactions between the Circadian Clock and Drugs of Abuse

Department of Biological Science, Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Lisa C. Lyons; ude.usf.oib@snoyl

Received 16 May 2017; Accepted 13 August 2017; Published 17 December 2017

Academic Editor: Harry Pantazopoulos

Copyright © 2017 Aliza K. De Nobrega and Lisa C. Lyons. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endogenous circadian oscillators orchestrate rhythms at the cellular, physiological, and behavioral levels across species to coordinate activity, for example, sleep/wake cycles, metabolism, and learning and memory, with predictable environmental cycles. The 21st century has seen a dramatic rise in the incidence of circadian and sleep disorders with globalization, technological advances, and the use of personal electronics. The circadian clock modulates alcohol- and drug-induced behaviors with circadian misalignment contributing to increased substance use and abuse. Invertebrate models, such as Drosophila melanogaster, have proven invaluable for the identification of genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying highly conserved processes including the circadian clock, drug tolerance, and reward systems. In this review, we highlight the contributions of Drosophila as a model system for understanding the bidirectional interactions between the circadian system and the drugs of abuse, alcohol and cocaine, and illustrate the highly conserved nature of these interactions between Drosophila and mammalian systems. Research in Drosophila provides mechanistic insights into the corresponding behaviors in higher organisms and can be used as a guide for targeted inquiries in mammals.