Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis of the molecular substrates of sleep need

Journal: Nature

Published: 2018-06-13

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0218-8

Affiliations: 14

Authors: 25

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Research Highlight

Waking up to sleep secrets

© Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty

© Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty

The biochemistry behind sleepiness has been found in somnolent rodents.

A good night’s sleep after a long day can feel like hitting the refresh button, but how the brain monitors the need for a nap is not well understood. A team led by University of Tsukuba researchers compared the chemical activity in the brains of well-rested mice, sleep-deprived mice and mice with a genetic mutation — aptly named Sleepy — that causes them to always seek extra sleep. The team identified 80 proteins that accumulated more phosphates by a process called phosphorylation, which can alter protein function, in than in the well-rested mice. The process was reversed after the tired rodents had slept, and could explain how the brain tracks how long it has been awake or asleep.

Understanding the sleep−wake cycle could help researchers find the best sleeping pattern for improving brain function.

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  1. Nature 558, 435-439 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0218-8
Institutions Share
University of Tsukuba, Japan 0.69
National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS), China 0.13
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (St. Jude), United States of America (USA) 0.08
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern Medical Center), United States of America (USA) 0.07
Toho University, Japan 0.02
Tsinghua University, China 0.01