• Michel M, Lyons LC. Unraveling the complexities of circadian and sleep interactions with memory formation through invertebrate research. Frontiers in systems neuroscience. 8. 133 p. PMID: 25136297 [PubMed]. PMCID: PMC4120776.


Across phylogeny, the endogenous biological clock has been recognized as providing adaptive advantages to organisms through coordination of physiological and behavioral processes. Recent research has emphasized the role of circadian modulation of memory in generating peaks and troughs in cognitive performance. The circadian clock along with homeostatic processes also regulates sleep, which itself impacts the formation and consolidation of memory. Thus, the circadian clock, sleep and memory form a triad with ongoing dynamic interactions. With technological advances and the development of a global 24/7 society, understanding the mechanisms underlying these connections becomes pivotal for development of therapeutic treatments for memory disorders and to address issues in cognitive performance arising from non-traditional work schedules. Invertebrate models, such as Drosophila melanogaster and the mollusks Aplysia and Lymnaea, have proven invaluable tools for identification of highly conserved molecular processes in memory. Recent research from invertebrate systems has outlined the influence of sleep and the circadian clock upon synaptic plasticity. In this review, we discuss the effects of the circadian clock and sleep on memory formation in invertebrates drawing attention to the potential of in vivo and in vitro approaches that harness the power of simple invertebrate systems to correlate individual cellular processes with complex behaviors. In conclusion, this review highlights how studies in invertebrates with relatively simple nervous systems can provide mechanistic insights into corresponding behaviors in higher organisms and can be used to outline possible therapeutic options to guide further targeted inquiry.