Apr 28, 2020

An essential role for MEF2C in the cortical response to loss of sleep

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
T. E. BjornessRobert W. Greene


Neuronal activity and gene expression in response to the loss of sleep can provide a window into the enigma of sleep function. Sleep loss is associated with brain differential gene expression, an increase in pyramidal cell mEPSC frequency and amplitude, and a characteristic rebound and resolution of slow wave sleep-slow wave activity (SWS-SWA). However, the molecular mechanism(s) mediating the sleep loss response are not well understood. We show that sleep-loss regulates MEF2C phosphorylation, a key mechanism regulating MEF2C transcriptional activity, and that MEF2C function in postnatal excitatory forebrain neurons is required for the biological events in response to sleep loss. These include altered gene expression, the increase and recovery of synaptic strength, and the rebound and resolution of SWS-SWA, which implicate MEF2C as an essential regulator of sleep function.

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