Molecular analysis of sleep

Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2007:72:573-8. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2007.72.054.


Rest or sleep in all animal species constitutes a period of quiescence necessary for recovery from activity. Whether rest and activity observed in all organisms share a similar fundamental molecular basis with sleep and wakefulness in mammals has not yet been established. In addition and in contrast to the circadian system, strong evidence that sleep is regulated at the transcriptional level is lacking. Nevertheless, several studies indicate that single genesmay regulate some specific aspects of sleep. Efforts to better understand or confirm the role of known neurotransmission pathways in sleep-wake regulation using transgenic approaches resulted so far in only limited new insights. Recent gene expression profiling efforts in rats, mice, and fruit flies are promising and suggest that only a few gene categories are differentially regulated by behavioral state. How molecular analysis can help us to understand sleep is the focus of this chapter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / genetics
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Wakefulness / genetics
  • Wakefulness / physiology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents