Solving the mystery of sleep
~Developing new intervention methods for healthy slumber~
The familiar phenomenon of sleep, and even why we sleep, is a great mystery in neuroscience. Although our discovery of orexin has helped to unlock the door to the sleep disorder narcolepsy, the black box of sleep/wake control still remains a challenge for scientists. In order to crack open the black box, Yanagisawa/Funato Laboratory is engaged in basic research using forward genetic analysis, in vivo calcium imaging, patch-clamp electrophysiology in brain slices with simultaneous multicellular recording and imaging, etc., in addition to drug discovery research that targets the orexin receptor. Already, three or more causative gene mutations that play an important role in sleep-wake regulation have been successfully identified to date through advances in our forward genetics research. Experiments are ongoing each day with the aim of solving the mystery of sleep, and contributing to the reduction of sleep disorders and associated diseases.