American Scientists Discover Genes That Control Drosophila Sleep Size
American scientists reported in the "Nature" magazine published on the 28th that they found that if a gene of a fruit fly mutates, it will lead to a decrease in sleep. Since the Drosophila gene composition and sleep characteristics are similar to humans, this finding will help to study and solve human sleep problems. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin in the United States said in their report that they have studied more than 14,000 genes of Drosophila. As a result, it was found that if the flies' Shaker gene is mutated, it sleeps at least one-third less than normal flies. Normally fruit flies sleep 10 to 12 hours a day, whereas genetically modified fruit flies need only three to four hours of rest a day. Experiments have shown that reduced sleep does not immediately have any effect on gene mutations in Drosophila. In the absence of rest for 24 hours, their evasive response to attacks is similar to normal, whereas normal flies respond significantly slower. However, the lifespan of mutant flies is one-third shorter than that of common flies. Scientists further discovered that the "Shaker" gene controls the production of a protein in Drosophila that can promote the entry of potassium into nerve cells. "Shaker" gene mutation, potassium ions in fruit flies can not enter the nerve cells, which may be caused by reduced sleep. The genetic makeup of Drosophila is similar to that of humans and has been used as a biological model for studying the human body. Its sleep characteristics, such as insufficiency in sleep, are unresponsive to humans. The Shaker gene is also present in the human body and its function is similar to that of fruit flies. Therefore, researchers believe that the findings of the study will help to better understand and solve human sleep problems. The biological network reported on April 27 that researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in the United States are dedicated to studying the sleep mechanism of animal cells. They found that gene mutations can affect the length of sleep in fruit flies. Under normal conditions, Drosophila unique genes will control the activity of potassium bicarbonate in cells, and this activity occurs mainly in the neurons of Drosophila. Scientists have found that this activity mechanism also exists in human sleep. This finding may find ways for insomnia patients to prolong sleep. Chiara Cirelli, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said the results of the study showed that scientists can create a compound that affects the activity of potassium bicarbonate in human brain neurons, thereby helping insomnia patients to prolong sleep. Barry Ganetsky, professor of genetics at the University of Washington, also participated in the study. He said that most people in the world sleep for seven to eight hours a day. If they are deprived of their normal sleep time, their cognitive ability will be affected. However, some people can only reach normal people's cognitive level by sleeping only three to four hours a day. The current focus of the scientists' research is to understand the mechanisms by which genes control human sleep and to adapt these genes to meet people's needs. The research direction of Wisconsin Medical School focuses on finding ways to regulate the circadian rhythm of the human body. At present, scientists have been clear about the chemical mechanism that controls the circadian rhythm of human body, but the adaptive function of the human body to regulate its circadian rhythm is not well understood. For a period of up to four years, scientists have tested a total of 9,000 fruit flies. They found that some of them had only one-third of the sleep time of other fruit flies. Through a series of experiments, these flies did not show worse cognitive ability than other flies because of reduced sleep time. However, the life cycle of such fruit flies is shorter than that of ordinary fruit flies. Scientists noticed that when these short-sleeping flies wake up, their legs tremble. This phenomenon has led scientists to study the genes that make their legs tremble. They also found that the main role of this trembling is to awaken cells that are asleep. Humans also have this feature. After careful analysis of these Drosophila genes, scientists discovered that one of the amino acid genes had been mutated. Due to this mutation, the transmission of chemical substances between the cell membranes of these Drosophila was disturbed, and potassium bicarbonate could not be transported freely between cells as usual. When the scientists conducted a study of genetically mutated fruit flies, they found that only if the specific genes of fruit flies were mutated, did they experience a reduction in sleep time. This result may suggest that it may not be a good thing to be a person with a normal short sleep time. Because their genes are likely to be different from normal people, scientists are not yet able to determine the results of this study. Scientists in early studies have demonstrated that fruit flies do have similar characteristics to mammals during sleep. Like humans, fruit flies are very quiet during sleep and usually keep sleeping for 6 to 12 hours a day. The fruit fly loses most of its ability to respond to external stimuli during sleep. When their normal sleep is disturbed, their time for the next sleep will be extended accordingly. Scientists also noted that caffeine also has a reduced sleep time for humans and fruit flies. The chemical changes in the intracellular material of Drosophila during sleep and wakefulness are also very similar to humans. Sleep is a very complex physiological activity that involves the interaction of many genes, but some of them have more control over sleep than other genes. The gene discovered by this scientist belongs to the main gene for controlling sleep, because it can influence the sleep of the organism by changing the excitability of the neuron.