They found that mutations in the gene Pig-Q, which is required for the biosynthesis of a modifier of protein function, increased sleep. Later, they tested this in a vertebrate model, zebrafish, and found a similar effect. Therefore, in humans, flies and zebrafish, Pig-Q is associated with sleep regulation.
The next step in this research is to study the role of a common protein modification, GPI-anchor biosynthesis, on sleep regulation. In addition, the human-to-fruit flies-to-zebrafish pipeline developed will allow them to functionally assess not only sleep genes but also other traits such as neurodegeneration, aging and memory.
Understanding how genes regulate sleep and the role of this pathway in sleep regulation can help unlock future findings on sleep and sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Moving forward, they will continue to use and study this system to identify more genes regulating sleep, which could point in the direction of new treatments for sleep disorders.