Variant-to-gene-mapping followed by cross-species genetic screening identifies GPI-anchor biosynthesis as novel regulator of sleep Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • ABSTRACTSleep is nearly ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom, with deficiencies in sleep having been linked to a wide range of human disorders and diseases. While genome wide association studies (GWAS) in humans have identified loci robustly associated with several heritable diseases or traits, 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 RNAi screen in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This approach identified a number of genes that regulated sleep, including phosphatidylinositol N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase subunit Q (PIG-Q), a gene that encodes an enzyme involved in the first step of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)- anchor biosynthesis. We show that flies deficient for PIG-Q have longer sleep during both day and night due to an increase in the total number of sleep bouts. Subsequent systematic investigation of other PIG-family genes identified increased sleep in flies for multiple different genes within the PIG pathway. We then mutated the PIG-Q locus in zebrafish and identified similar increases in sleep to those observed in Drosophila, confirming deep homology of PIG-Q mediated sleep regulation. These results provide the first physical variant-to-gene mapping of human sleep genes followed by a model organism-based prioritization, revealing a novel and conserved role for GPI-anchor biosynthesis in sleep regulation.

altmetric score

  • 15

author list (cited authors)

  • Palermo, J., Chesi, A., Zimmerman, A., Sonti, S., Lasconi, C., Brown, E. B., ... Keene, A. C.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Palermo, Justin||Chesi, Alessandra||Zimmerman, Amber||Sonti, Shilpa||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

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • December 2021