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Energy-Demanding Proteins Need Sleep


Researchers from Belgium and Luxembourg have uncovered data suggesting that a lack of sleep sharply affects the level of proteins associated with processes that require energy, supporting the scientific view that sleep serves a crucial role in restoring energy and molecular stocks.

In a study published in Proteome Science, the researchers looked into the effects of sleep deprivation on a proteomic level and found that in the hippocampus of rats, the levels of proteins associated with cell metabolism, energy pathways, and protein processing all increased. At the same time, they observed a lower abundance of proteins in the adrenals that are associated with cell metabolism, protein assembly, and transcription regulation.

The findings support the view that sleep serves to help the body replenish energy and certain molecules, the authors write in the article. While the overall conclusion may not be unexpected, the study is one of a small handful that have looked at how the body responds to sleep deprivation on a protein level and identifies specific proteins that may be affected the most from sleep, or, conversely, suffer the most from a lack of sleep.

The authors say that all known vertebrate species require sleep suggesting it "might underpin one or several vital functions," including thermoregulation, energy conservation, immune defense, tissue restoration, and brain plasticity.

While several studies have looked into gene transcription of the wake-sleep cycle, fewer have explored what effect sleep deprivation has on the proteomic level. However, "the characterization of protein changes that contribute to the cellular phenotype is an indispensable complement to genomic studies in understanding the link between cellular activity and behavior," the authors say.

Referencing earlier research, the team used a rat model and compared proteins in the hippocampus and adrenals in rats that were deprived of sleep for four hours with those that were allowed to sleep.

Tony Fong

Proteomics Notes

Gentel is licensing Eppendorf's Silver-quant colorimetric detection technology to be used in protein detection arrays. The detection technology uses gold particle-enhanced silver crystal deposition.

Auguron signed a deal allowing Proteomika access to its Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array technology. Proteomika can use the technology internally and to provide services to its partners, and has the option to use it to find biomarkers for inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.

GeneGo and Merck have extended their global enterprise agreement that gives Merck access to GeneGo's content, including MetaCore, MetaDrug, and GeneGo's internal disease marker database.


€13.7 million
Amount The European Union's Sens-it-iv Will spend to investigate in vitro alternatives to animal tests of skin and lung allergic reactions.

Funded Grants

Quantitative Proteomics of Metastasis
Grantee: David Burke Krizman, Expression Pathology
Began: May 9, 2008; Ends: Apr. 30, 2009

With this grant, Krizman will be studying whether metastasis-associated proteins that are upregulated in primary breast cancers become mobile and invade other tissues. In addition, he will see if these proteins can be used as biomarkers to indicate the aggressiveness or metastatic potential of earlier stage breast cancers, something the researchers say could personalize patient care.

Urinary peptide excretion and onset of puberty
Grantee: Stephen Barnes, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Began: Jun. 1, 2008; Ends: May 31, 2010

Barnes will be studying the timing and stages of puberty with a proteomic approach. He will analyze urine samples from pre-menarcheal girls between the ages of 10 and 13, gather data about their diet, and follow them over time. The goal, Barnes writes in the abstract, is to understand the biochemical and physiological events of puberty as well as the environmental ones.

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