Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lack Of Fragile X And Related Gene Fractures Sleep

Date:
June 27, 2008
Source:
Baylor College of Medicine
Summary:
Lack of both the fragile X syndrome gene and one that is related could account for sleep problems associated with the disorder, which is the common cause of inherited mental impairment.

Lack of both the fragile X syndrome gene and one that is related could account for sleep problems associated with the disorder, which is the common cause of inherited mental impairment, said a consortium of researchers led by scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Related Articles


Mice deficient in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) and a similar gene called fragile X-related gene 2 (FXR2) have no rhythm to their wake and sleep pattern, said Dr. David Nelson, professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and co-director of the Interdepartmental Program in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Normal mice have a sleep-wake cycle of just under 12 hours awake and 12 hours asleep. Exposed to light and dark, they are awake in the dark and asleep during the light because they are nocturnal animals. If they are kept in the dark, their cycle reduces by about 10 minutes per sleep-wake period but remains fairly normal. When mice do not have either FMR1 or FXR2, they have a slightly shorter cycle but the difference is not dramatic.

"However, the double-mutants (those without both genes) have no rhythm at all," said Nelson. "This has never been seen in a mouse before." The animals, usually kept in a cage with a wheel on which they run when awake, sleep a little, run a little, sleep a little -- but there is no rhythm to it.

The finding is important because parents whose children have autism or fragile X report problems getting their children to go to sleep and stay asleep. Fragile X is the most common known cause of autism. While there are few studies on the topic, said Nelson, "the impression I have is that many fragile X patients have a period of time that's like an extended infancy when they don't settle into a typical sleep--wake period."

Understanding how the gene associated with fragile X affect the circadian clock or the sleep-wake cycle could help explain some of the symptoms experienced by patients, he said.

After ruling out the possibility that the animals without the two genes could not perceive light, Nelson collaborated with a group in The Netherlands to test whether the cell's "central clock" called the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the animals was normal. They concluded that the clock was normal but that somehow the expression of genes that govern it is altered in these mice.

"These genes (FMR1 and FXR2) are new players in the control of circadian (daily) rhythms," said Nelson. Currently, the genes are thought to have a role in translating RNAs (ribonucleic acids) -- particularly at the receiving side of the connections between neurons called dendrites. Dendrites are characterized by the fine branches that reach out into tissue. Scientists theorize that FMR1 and FXR2 may be involved in transporting the RNAs to the areas of those branches where the synapse is present.

These findings appeared recently in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Others who took part in this work include Jing Zhang and Zhe Fang of BCM, Corinne Jud and Urs Albrecht of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, Mariska J. Van Steensel and Johanna H. Meijer of Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, Krista Kaasik and Cheng Chi Lee of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Ben A. Oostra of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Funding for this work came from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the BCM Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability Research Center, the Fragile X Research (FRAXA) Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation and EUCLOCK, a project on the circadian clock sponsored by the European Commission.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baylor College of Medicine. "Lack Of Fragile X And Related Gene Fractures Sleep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626125830.htm>.
Baylor College of Medicine. (2008, June 27). Lack Of Fragile X And Related Gene Fractures Sleep. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626125830.htm
Baylor College of Medicine. "Lack Of Fragile X And Related Gene Fractures Sleep." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626125830.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins