A G-protein coupled receptor is involved in the regulation of sleep and metabolism
Zara, Lian C.
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Sleep is an evolutionary conserved behaviour which in most species is essential for survival. However, the mechanisms involved in the genetic regulation of sleep remain poorly understood. C. elegans exhibit a number of sleep-like behaviours: a) lethargus which is a developmental period between moults, b) satiety which occurs after feeding and c) after long durations of thrashing in liquid media. We have isolated a C. elegans G-protein coupled receptor, named NPR-14,that is most similar to the human orexin receptor 2 and is involved in the above behaviours and functions through a protein kinase G - dependent and independent pathways. NPR-14 works together with other signalling pathways that have been implicated in sleep regulation including Notch, GABA, and insulin signalling. A null mutation in npr-14 results in anachronistic quiescence especially in the presence of food. It also results in egg-laying defects, episodic swimming behaviour, asynchronicity during development and despite feeding less these mutants appear to accumulate more fat than N2 worms.