Sleep Now

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Science  25 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6157, pp. 403
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6157.403-b

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) acts in the mammalian brain to control numerous behaviors, including food intake and sleep. In Drosophila, there are two NPY-like peptides, neuropeptide F (NPF) and also a short version (sNPF). Shang et al. have found that the activation of sNPF-expressing neurons in the fly brain promotes sleep. When the activity of these neurons was enhanced, flies were prone to sleep more; later, when these neurons were silenced, flies actually slept less, as if their internal clocks had registered the additional time already spent sleeping. Conversely, experimentally activating these neurons during a period of sleep deprivation (achieved by incessant agitation on a vortex mixer) reduced the amount of catch-up sleep needed. These neurons are controlled by wake-promoting neurons that express the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid and suppress the activity of the sNPF neurons, reducing daytime sleep. Finally, the effects of sNPF on feeding appear to be secondary to its effects on sleep.

Neuron 80, 171 (2013).

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