24.10.2019 Antrittsvorlesung Prof. Dr. Henik Bringmann

Foto: Markus Farnung

Sleep: A worm’s eye view

Zu diesem Thema gibt Herr Prof. Dr. Henrik Bringmann im Rahmen des Biologischen Kolloquiums des Fachbereichs

am Mittwoch, den 30. Oktober 2019 

um 17:15 Uhr im Großen Hörsaal

seine Antrittsvorlesung.


Sleep is essential for animal life and is conserved from jellyfish to humans. Sleep disorders are widespread and sleep loss is detrimental, posing an unsolved medical problem. Despite its importance, little is known about the control and functions of sleep at the molecular level. To understand the how and why of sleep we are using “the worm” C. elegans, the simplest yet molecularly accessible model system that sleeps. We are applying a combination of genetics, functional imaging, optogenetics, and physiological analysis to find underlying molecular mechanisms. We showed that C. elegans requires a single sleep-active neuron called RIS to induce sleep. RIS is controlled by upstream circuits that measure and translate wakefulness into sleep. Cellular stress activates RIS through EGFR signaling and through the stress-sensing ALA neuron, thus increasing sleep. Without sleep, larvae show an increased progression of aging phenotypes. Thus, sleep in C. elegans is ultimately simplified: It requires a single sleep-active neuron that is controlled by upstream circuits and responds to sleep need. Sleep appears to serve basic functions that include counteracting the progression of aging phenotypes.