Navigation Links
Snoozing worms help Penn researchers explain the evolution of sleep
Date:1/11/2008

PHILADELPHIA The roundworm C. elegans, a staple of laboratory research, may be key in unlocking one of the central biological mysteries: why we sleep. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine report in this weeks advanced online edition of Nature that the round worm has a sleep-like state, joining most of the animal kingdom in displaying this physiology. This research has implications for explaining the evolution and purpose of sleep and sleep-like states in animals.

In addition, genetic work associated with the study provides new prospects for the use of C. elegans to identify sleep-regulatory genes and drug targets for sleep disorders.

First author David M. Raizen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, in collaboration with other researchers at the Penn Center for Sleep, showed that there is a period of behavioral quiescence during the worms development called lethargus that has sleep-like properties. Just as humans are less responsive during sleep, so is the worm during lethargus, explains Raizen. And, just as humans fall asleep faster and sleep deeper following sleep deprivation, so does the worm.

By demonstrating that worms sleep, Raizen and colleagues have not only demonstrated the ubiquity of sleep in nature, but also propose a compelling hypothesis for the purpose for sleep.

Because the time of lethargus coincides with a time in the round worms life cycle when synaptic changes occur in the nervous system, they propose that sleep is a state required for nervous system plasticity. In other words, in order for the nervous system to grow and change, there must be down time of active behavior. Other researchers at Penn have shown that, in mammals, synaptic changes occur during sleep and that deprivation of sleep results in a disruption of these synaptic changes.

In addition, the research team used C. elegans as a model system to identify a gene that regulates sleep. This gene, which encodes a protein kinase and is regulated by a small molecule called cyclic GMP, has been previously studied but not suspected to play a role in sleep regulation. The findings suggest a potential role for this gene in regulating human sleep and may provide an avenue for developing new drugs for sleep disorders.

It opens up an entire new line of inquiry into the functions of sleep, notes Penn Center for Sleep Director and co-author Allan I. Pack, MB, Chb, PhD.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists alter sexual orientation in worms
2. Drug commonly used to treat bipolar disorder dramatically increases lifespan in worms
3. Worms take the sniff test to reveal sex differences in brain
4. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
5. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
6. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
7. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
8. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
9. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
10. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
11. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Snoozing worms help Penn researchers explain the evolution of sleep
(Date:7/20/2017)... -- Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints ... Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched ... into the boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
(Date:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of ... develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first ... (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The ... to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The ... prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical ... during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American ... broadcast first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , ... faced with the challenge of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness ... targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness ... Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two ...
Breaking Biology Technology: