Novel cholinergic mechanisms linking sleep need to attentional suppression


November 1, 2017 - 1:00pm
Northwest Building, Room 243
About the Speaker
Yuichi Makino
Speaker Title: 
Post-doctoral Fellow, Hensch Lab

Sleep loss causes a wide variety of behavioral changes. Particularly, it is well-known that attention declines after an extended wake period, as everyone has surely experienced poor concentration when studying late at night. However, neural mechanisms that underlie attentional suppression under sleep demand remain largely unexplored. Here, we examined altered attention reflecting sleep need as well as the underlying neural mechanisms in mice. Impaired performance on a touchscreen-based visual attention task was observed during the light phase of the circadian cycle, when sleep demand for mice is higher, as well as after experimental sleep deprivation. Notably, compromised attentional abilities were prevented by targeted deletion of the Lynx1 protein, which normally dampens nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) function. Moreover, sleep need modulated specific cortical activity and gene expression patterns, which were further abolished without Lynx1. These findings indicate that modulation of nAChR signaling and its regulation by Lynx1 provides a critical mechanistic link from sleep need to attentional decline.