Variant-to-gene mapping followed by cross-species genetic screening identifies GPI-anchor biosynthesis as a regulator of sleep. Academic Article uri icon


  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in humans have identified loci robustly associated with several heritable diseases or traits, yet little is known about the functional roles of the underlying causal variants in regulating sleep duration or quality. We applied an ATAC-seq/promoter focused Capture C strategy in human iPSC-derived neural progenitors to carry out a "variant-to-gene" mapping campaign that identified 88 candidate sleep effector genes connected to relevant GWAS signals. To functionally validate the role of the implicated effector genes in sleep regulation, we performed a neuron-specific RNA interference screen in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, followed by validation in zebrafish. This approach identified a number of genes that regulate sleep including a critical role for glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biosynthesis. These results provide the first physical variant-to-gene mapping of human sleep genes followed by a model organism-based prioritization, revealing a conserved role for GPI-anchor biosynthesis in sleep regulation.

published proceedings

  • Sci Adv

author list (cited authors)

  • Palermo, J., Chesi, A., Zimmerman, A., Sonti, S., Pahl, M. C., Lasconi, C., ... Keene, A. C.

complete list of authors

  • Palermo, Justin||Chesi, Alessandra||Zimmerman, Amber||Sonti, Shilpa||Pahl, Matthew C||Lasconi, Chiara||Brown, Elizabeth B||Pippin, James A||Wells, Andrew D||Doldur-Balli, Fusun||Mazzotti, Diego R||Pack, Allan I||Gehrman, Phillip R||Grant, Struan FA||Keene, Alex C

publication date

  • January 2023