A CRISPR screen reveals that a certain gene mutation was associated with hyperactivity and sleeping less at night.
Sleep is essential for daily life and biological functioning, but researchers still don't know a lot about sleep, especially which genes are involved in sleep.
Recently, a research study called 'a genetic screen identifies dreammist as a regulator of sleep' was published in bioRxiv.
Researchers used a genetic screen to identify the dreammist (dmist) gene as a potential sleep regulator. Researchers then used CRISPR-Cas9 to mutate the dmist gene in Zebrafish. They found that the mutation reduced dmist gene expression by 60%. Furthermore, the researchers reported that the dmist gene mutations caused hyperactive behaviour and an inability to sleep during the night.
More info about Dmist...
The dmist gene is expressed in neurons and encodes a transmembrane protein called Dmist.
Interestingly, Dmist shares similarities with Fxyd1, a protein that regulates the sodium-potassium pump (the sodium-potassium pump regulates sodium in cells).
Disruption of the sodium-potassium pump subunits impacts sleep negatively.
Dmist might regulate the sodium-potassium pump function, which contributes to normal sleep.
The dmist gene is found across vertebrates (animals with backbones).
In conclusion, researchers used CRISPR-Cas to help confirm that a novel gene mutation is involved in dysfunctional sleep patterns. Further research needs to be conducted to find out whether Dmist alters the sodium-potassium pump and subsequently sleep too.