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Simple and complex interactions between sleep-wake driven and circadian processes shape daily genome regulatory dynamics in the mouse

By Charlotte N. Hor, Jake Yeung, Maxime Jan, Yann Emmenegger, Jeffrey Hubbard, Ioannis Xenarios, Felix Naef, Paul Franken

Posted 21 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/677807 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1910590116)

The timing and duration of sleep results from the interaction between a sleep-wake driven, or homeostatic, process (S) and a circadian process (C), and involves changes in gene expression and genomic regulation. Unraveling the respective contributions of S and C, and their interaction, to transcriptional and epigenomic regulatory dynamics requires sampling over time under unperturbed conditions and conditions of perturbed sleep. Here, we profiled mRNA expression and chromatin accessibility in the cerebral cortex of mice over a three-day period, including a 6-hour sleep deprivation (SD) on day two. Mathematical modeling established that a large proportion of rhythmic genes are actually governed by Process S with varying degrees of interaction with Process C, sometimes working in opposition. Remarkably, SD causes long-term effects on gene expression dynamics, outlasting phenotypic recovery, most strikingly illustrated by a dampening of the oscillation of most core clock genes, including Bmal1, suggesting that enforced wakefulness directly impacts the molecular clock machinery. Chromatin accessibility proved highly plastic and dynamically affected by SD. Distal regions, rather than promoters, display dynamics corresponding to gene transcription, implying that changes in mRNA expression result from constantly accessible promoters under the influence of distal enhancers or repressors. Srf was predicted as a transcriptional regulator driving immediate response, suggesting that Srf activity mirrors the build-up and release of sleep pressure. Our results demonstrate that a single, short SD has long-term aftereffects at the genomic regulatory level. Such effects might accumulate with repeated sleep restrictions, thereby contributing to their adverse health effects.

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