A novel BHLHE41 variant is associated with short sleep and resistance to sleep deprivation in humans.
ABSTRACT: Earlier work described a mutation in DEC2 also known as BHLHE41 (basic helix-loophelix family member e41) as causal in a family of short sleepers, who needed just 6 h sleep per night. We evaluated whether there were other variants of this gene in two well-phenotyped cohorts.Sequencing of the BHLHE41 gene, electroencephalographic data, and delta power analysis and functional studies using cell-based luciferase.We identified new variants of the BHLHE41 gene in two cohorts who had either acute sleep deprivation (n = 200) or chronic partial sleep deprivation (n = 217). One variant, Y362H, at another location in the same exon occurred in one twin in a dizygotic twin pair and was associated with reduced sleep duration, less recovery sleep following sleep deprivation, and fewer performance lapses during sleep deprivation than the homozygous twin. Both twins had almost identical amounts of non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. This variant reduced the ability of BHLHE41 to suppress CLOCK/BMAL1 and NPAS2/BMAL1 transactivation in vitro. Another variant in the same exome had no effect on sleep or response to sleep deprivation and no effect on CLOCK/BMAL1 transactivation. Random mutagenesis identified a number of other variants of BHLHE41 that affect its function.There are a number of mutations of BHLHE41. Mutations reduce total sleep while maintaining NREM sleep and provide resistance to the effects of sleep loss. Mutations that affect sleep also modify the normal inhibition of BHLHE41 of CLOCK/BMAL1 transactivation. Thus, clock mechanisms are likely involved in setting sleep length and the magnitude of sleep homeostasis.Pellegrino R, Kavakli IH, Goel N, Cardinale CJ, Dinges DF, Kuna ST, Maislin G, Van Dongen HP, Tufik S, Hogenesch JB, Hakonarson H, Pack AI. A novel BHLHE41 variant is associated with short sleep and resistance to sleep deprivation in humans. SLEEP 2014;37(8):1327-1336.
Project description:Circadian clocks allow anticipation of daily environmental changes. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) houses the master clock, but clocks are also widely expressed elsewhere in the body. Although some peripheral clocks have established roles, it is unclear what local brain clocks do. We tested the contribution of one putative local clock in mouse histaminergic neurons in the tuberomamillary nucleus to the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Histaminergic neurons are silent during sleep, and start firing after wake onset; the released histamine, made by the enzyme histidine decarboxylase (HDC), enhances wakefulness. We found that hdc gene expression varies with time of day. Selectively deleting the Bmal1 (also known as Arntl or Mop3) clock gene from histaminergic cells removes this variation, producing higher HDC expression and brain histamine levels during the day. The consequences include more fragmented sleep, prolonged wake at night, shallower sleep depth (lower nonrapid eye movement [NREM] ? power), increased NREM-to-REM transitions, hindered recovery sleep after sleep deprivation, and impaired memory. Removing BMAL1 from histaminergic neurons does not, however, affect circadian rhythms. We propose that for mammals with polyphasic/nonwake consolidating sleep, the local BMAL1-dependent clock directs appropriately timed declines and increases in histamine biosynthesis to produce an appropriate balance of wake and sleep within the overall daily cycle of rest and activity specified by the SCN.
Project description:The nuclear receptor REV-ERB? is a potent, constitutive transcriptional repressor critical for the regulation of key circadian and metabolic genes. Recently, REV-ERB?'s involvement in learning, neurogenesis, mood, and dopamine turnover was demonstrated suggesting a specific role in central nervous system functioning. We have previously shown that the brain expression of several core clock genes, including Rev-erb?, is modulated by sleep loss. We here test the consequences of a loss of REV-ERB? on the homeostatic regulation of sleep.EEG/EMG signals were recorded in Rev-erb? knockout (KO) mice and their wild type (WT) littermates during baseline, sleep deprivation, and recovery. Cortical gene expression measurements after sleep deprivation were contrasted to baseline.Although baseline sleep/wake duration was remarkably similar, KO mice showed an advance of the sleep/wake distribution relative to the light-dark cycle. After sleep onset in baseline and after sleep deprivation, both EEG delta power (1-4 Hz) and sleep consolidation were reduced in KO mice indicating a slower increase of homeostatic sleep need during wakefulness. This slower increase might relate to the smaller increase in theta and gamma power observed in the waking EEG prior to sleep onset under both conditions. Indeed, the increased theta activity during wakefulness predicted delta power in subsequent NREM sleep. Lack of Rev-erb? increased Bmal1, Npas2, Clock, and Fabp7 expression, confirming the direct regulation of these genes by REV-ERB? also in the brain.Our results add further proof to the notion that clock genes are involved in sleep homeostasis. Because accumulating evidence directly links REV-ERB? to dopamine signaling the altered homeostatic regulation of sleep reported here are discussed in that context.
Project description:Most of our knowledge about the regulation and function of sleep is based on studies in a restricted number of mammalian species, particularly nocturnal rodents. Hence, there is still much to learn from comparative studies in other species. Birds are interesting because they appear to share key aspects of sleep with mammals, including the presence of two different forms of sleep, i.e. non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. We examined sleep architecture and sleep homeostasis in the European starling, using miniature dataloggers for electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings. Under controlled laboratory conditions with a 12:12 h light-dark cycle, the birds displayed a pronounced daily rhythm in sleep and wakefulness with most sleep occurring during the dark phase. Sleep mainly consisted of NREM sleep. In fact, the amount of REM sleep added up to only 1~2% of total sleep time. Animals were subjected to 4 or 8 h sleep deprivation to assess sleep homeostatic responses. Sleep deprivation induced changes in subsequent NREM sleep EEG spectral qualities for several hours, with increased spectral power from 1.17 Hz up to at least 25 Hz. In contrast, power below 1.17 Hz was decreased after sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation also resulted in a small compensatory increase in NREM sleep time the next day. Changes in EEG spectral power and sleep time were largely similar after 4 and 8 h sleep deprivation. REM sleep was not noticeably compensated after sleep deprivation. In conclusion, starlings display signs of NREM sleep homeostasis but the results do not support the notion of important REM sleep functions.
Project description:We have previously demonstrated that clock genes contribute to the homeostatic aspect of sleep regulation. Indeed, mutations in some clock genes modify the markers of sleep homeostasis and an increase in homeostatic sleep drive alters clock gene expression in the forebrain. Here, we investigate a possible mechanism by which sleep deprivation (SD) could alter clock gene expression by quantifying DNA-binding of the core-clock transcription factors CLOCK, NPAS2, and BMAL1 to the cis-regulatory sequences of target clock genes in mice. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), we first showed that, as reported for the liver, DNA-binding of CLOCK and BMAL1 to target clock genes changes in function of time-of-day in the cerebral cortex. Tissue extracts were collected at ZT0 (light onset), -6, -12, and -18, and DNA enrichment of E-box or E'-box containing sequences was measured by qPCR. CLOCK and BMAL1 binding to Cry1, Dbp, Per1, and Per2 depended on time-of-day, with maximum values reached at around ZT6. We then observed that SD, performed between ZT0 and -6, significantly decreased DNA-binding of CLOCK and BMAL1 to Dbp, consistent with the observed decrease in Dbp mRNA levels after SD. The DNA-binding of NPAS2 and BMAL1 to Per2 was also decreased by SD, although SD is known to increase Per2 expression in the cortex. DNA-binding to Per1 and Cry1 was not affected by SD. Our results show that the sleep-wake history can affect the clock molecular machinery directly at the level of chromatin binding thereby altering the cortical expression of Dbp and Per2 and likely other targets. Although the precise dynamics of the relationship between DNA-binding and mRNA expression, especially for Per2, remains elusive, the results also suggest that part of the reported circadian changes in DNA-binding of core clock components in tissues peripheral to the suprachiasmatic nuclei could, in fact, be sleep-wake driven.
Project description:Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder in the United States and often co-presents with sleep problems. Sleep problems in ASD predict the severity of ASD core diagnostic symptoms and have a considerable impact on the quality of life of caregivers. Little is known, however, about the underlying molecular mechanisms of sleep problems in ASD. We investigated the role of Shank3, a high confidence ASD gene candidate, in sleep architecture and regulation. We show that mice lacking exon 21 of Shank3 have problems falling asleep even when sleepy. Using RNA-seq we show that sleep deprivation increases the differences in prefrontal cortex gene expression between mutants and wild types, downregulating circadian transcription factors Per3, Bhlhe41, Hlf, Tef, and Nr1d1. Shank3 mutants also have trouble regulating wheel-running activity in constant darkness. Overall, our study shows that Shank3 is an important modulator of sleep and clock gene expression.
Project description:Although the neural circuitry underlying homeostatic sleep regulation is little understood, cortical neurons immunoreactive for neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and the neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1) have been proposed to be involved in this physiological process. By systematically manipulating the durations of sleep deprivation and subsequent recovery sleep, we show that activation of cortical nNOS/NK1 neurons is directly related to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time, NREM bout duration, and EEG ? power during NREM sleep, an index of preexisting homeostatic sleep drive. Conversely, nNOS knockout mice show reduced NREM sleep time, shorter NREM bouts, and decreased power in the low ? range during NREM sleep, despite constitutively elevated sleep drive. Cortical NK1 neurons are still activated in response to sleep deprivation in these mice but, in the absence of nNOS, they are unable to up-regulate NREM ? power appropriately. These findings support the hypothesis that cortical nNOS/NK1 neurons translate homeostatic sleep drive into up-regulation of NREM ? power through an NO-dependent mechanism.
Project description:Compensatory elevation in NREM sleep EEG delta power has been typically observed following prolonged wakefulness and widely used as a sleep homeostasis indicator. However, recent evidence in human and rodent chronic sleep restriction (CSR) studies suggests that NREM delta power is not progressively increased despite of accumulated sleep loss over days. In addition, there has been little progress in understanding how sleep EEG in different brain regions responds to CSR. Using novel high-density EEG electrode arrays in the mouse model of CSR where mice underwent 18-h sleep deprivation per day for 5 consecutive days, we performed an extensive analysis of topographical NREM sleep EEG responses to the CSR condition, including period-amplitude analysis of individual slow waves. As previously reported in our analysis of REM sleep responses, we found different patterns of changes: (i) progressive decrease in NREM sleep duration and consolidation, (ii) persistent enhancement in NREM delta power especially in the frontal and parietal regions, and (iii) progressive increases in individual slow wave slope and frontal fast oscillation power. These results suggest that multiple sleep-wake regulatory systems exist in a brain region-specific manner, which can be modulated independently, especially in the CSR condition.
Project description:STUDY OBJECTIVES: EEG slow waves are the hallmark of deep NREM sleep and may reflect the restorative functions of sleep. Evidence suggests that increased sleep slow waves after sleep deprivation reflect plastic synaptic processes, and that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is causally involved in their homeostatic regulation. The functional Val66Met polymorphism of the gene encoding pro-BDNF causes impaired activity-dependent secretion of mature BDNF protein. We investigated whether this polymorphism contributes to the pronounced inter-individual variation in sleep slow wave activity (SWA) in humans. SETTING: Sleep laboratory in temporal isolation unit. PARTICIPANTS: Eleven heterozygous Met allele carriers and 11 individually sex- and age-matched Val/Val homozygotes. INTERVENTIONS: Forty hours prolonged wakefulness. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Cognitive performance, subjective state, and waking and sleep EEG in baseline and after sleep deprivation were studied. Val/Val homozygotes showed better response accuracy than Met allele carriers on a verbal 2-back working memory task. This difference did not reflect genotype-dependent differences in sleepiness, well-being, or sustained attention. In baseline and recovery nights, deep stage 4 sleep and NREM sleep intensity as quantified by EEG SWA (0.75-4.5 Hz) were higher in Val/Val compared to Val/Met genotype. Similar to sleep deprivation, the difference was most pronounced in the first NREM sleep episode. By contrast, increased activity in higher EEG frequencies (> 6 Hz) in wakefulness and REM sleep was distinct from the effects of prolonged wakefulness. CONCLUSION: BDNF contributes to the regulation of sleep slow wave oscillations, suggesting that genetically determined variation in neuronal plasticity modulates NREM sleep intensity in humans.
Project description:The hypnogenic properties of cannabis have been recognized for centuries, but endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) regulation of vigilance states is poorly characterized. We report findings from a series of experiments in mice measuring sleep with polysomnography after various systemic pharmacological manipulations of the endocannabinoid system. Rapid, unbiased scoring of vigilance states was achieved using an automated algorithm that we devised and validated. Increasing endocannabinoid tone with a selective inhibitor of monoacyglycerol lipase (JZL184) or fatty acid amide hydrolase (AM3506) produced a transient increase in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep due to an augmentation of the length of NREM bouts (NREM stability). Similarly, direct activation of type 1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors with CP47,497 increased NREM stability, but both CP47,497 and JZL184 had a secondary effect that reduced NREM sleep time and stability. This secondary response to these drugs was similar to the early effect of CB1 blockade with the antagonist/inverse agonist AM281, which fragmented NREM sleep. The magnitude of the effects produced by JZL184 and AM281 were dependent on the time of day this drug was administered. While activation of CB1 resulted in only a slight reduction in gamma power, CB1 blockade had dramatic effects on broadband power in the EEG, particularly at low frequencies. However, CB1 blockade did not significantly reduce the rebound in NREM sleep following total sleep deprivation. These results support the hypothesis that endocannabinoid signaling through CB1 is necessary for NREM stability but it is not necessary for sleep homeostasis.
Project description:Patterns of daily human activity are controlled by an intrinsic circadian clock that promotes ?24 hr rhythms in many behavioral and physiological processes. This system is altered in delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), a common form of insomnia in which sleep episodes are shifted to later times misaligned with the societal norm. Here, we report a hereditary form of DSPD associated with a dominant coding variation in the core circadian clock gene CRY1, which creates a transcriptional inhibitor with enhanced affinity for circadian activator proteins Clock and Bmal1. This gain-of-function CRY1 variant causes reduced expression of key transcriptional targets and lengthens the period of circadian molecular rhythms, providing a mechanistic link to DSPD symptoms. The allele has a frequency of up to 0.6%, and reverse phenotyping of unrelated families corroborates late and/or fragmented sleep patterns in carriers, suggesting that it affects sleep behavior in a sizeable portion of the human population.