SLEEPLESS-ness and Insomnia in Fruit Flies


  • We acknowledge The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, and the Novartis Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry for Women and Minorities.


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Lord of the flies: A gene, sleepless, has been identified in Drosophila that when mutagenized imparted an extreme short-sleeping phenotype. SLEEPLESS expression is independent of the circadian clock and was found to participate in the homeostatic regulation of sleep. Namely, SLEEPLESS appears to be a signaling molecule that couples sleep drive to changes in membrane excitability (see picture).