CRISPR Confirms Mutation That Leads to Sleeplessness

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.

Reference

https://authors.library.caltech.edu/106756/1/2020.11.18.388736v1.full.pdf

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