. Sleep deprivation impairs memory by attenuating mTORC1-dependent protein synthesis. Sci Signal. 2016 Apr 26;9(425):ra41. PubMed.


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  1. I was very impressed with this sleep-mTORC1 study from Ted Abel’s lab. To my knowledge this is the first time that anyone found a specific molecular pathway, and even better, a specific molecular manipulation, that addresses the epidemic of sleep deprivation that plagues the modern world.

    This is an enormous problem with far-reaching consequences, many of which we are only starting to realize. Sleep plays a key homeostatic role in most biological processes that is absolutely central to nearly every aspect of our health and well-being. In our busy, overstimulated world, we are all constantly recovering from lack of sleep, whether because of choices we make or because of our jobs and accelerated lives.

    Abel’s lab, by demonstrating that 4EBP2-regulated protein synthesis is central to the memory problems caused by loss of sleep, has opened the door to a mechanistic understanding of this serious problem, and to possible interventions to dampen its effects. It is really incredible that the authors found such a specific process: Most of us thought that something as drastic as memory deficits caused by loss of sleep would affect a wide range of molecular, cellular, and circuit processes, and that targeting any one of these would have little or no impact. These findings have changed how I view this problem, and they represent a really important contribution to the field.

    View all comments by Alcino Silva

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