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Trends Neurosci. 2008 Jul;31(7):371-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

Conservation of sleep: insights from non-mammalian model systems.

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Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 125 South 31st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The past 10 years have seen new approaches to elucidating genetic pathways regulating sleep. The emerging theme is that sleep-like states are conserved in evolution, with similar signaling pathways playing a role in animals as distantly related as flies and humans. We review the evidence for the presence of sleep states in non-mammalian species including zebrafish (Danio rerio), fruitflies (Drosophila melanogaster) and roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans). We describe conserved sleep-regulatory molecular pathways with a focus on cAMP and epidermal growth factor signaling; neurotransmitters with conserved effects on sleep and wake regulation, including dopamine and GABA; and a conserved molecular response to sleep deprivation involving the chaperone protein BiP/GRP78.

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