The Roles of the Neuropeptide Receptor NPR-14 in the Regulation of Sleep Behaviours in Caenorhabditis elegans
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Most animals with a nervous system exhibit sleep behaviour(s) during their life cycle, which appears as a decreased level of physical activity and changes in metabolism. Even animals with a simple nervous system like Caenorhabditis elegans have shown sleep behaviour. Two types of sleep have been characterized in C. elegans. The first is a developmentally timed quiescence (DTS), known as lethargus; and the second is a stress induced quiescence (SIS). Each type of sleep functions through different neuronal pathways and utilizes a variety of neuropeptide signaling molecules. The DTS pathway uses the expression of the neuropeptide gene nlp-22 and that of the SIS pathway uses the neuropeptide flp-13. Our lab has discovered a neuropeptide receptor gene called npr-14 that, when mutated, displays quiescence behaviour. We seek to answer the question: How does npr-14 fit in the DTS or SIS sleep pathways? The role of npr-14 in the sleep circuit was tested using experiments that analyze the behaviour of npr-14 (LF) (loss of function) and npr-14(OE)(overexpression) alone and in combination with loss of function alleles of - flp-13, nlp-22, and other known components in the sleep pathway. Results of this research will enhance our understanding of the sleep circuit in C. elegans. Understanding this sleep circuit is important because it may contribute to the understanding of many sleep disorders.