Cold Inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRBP) adjusts clock-gene expression and REM-sleep recovery after sleep deprivation.
Sleep depriving mice affects clock-gene expression, suggesting that these genes contribute to sleep homeostasis. The mechanisms linking extended wakefulness to clock-gene expression are, however, not well understood. We propose CIRBP to play a role because its rhythmic expression is i) sleep-wake driven and ii) necessary for high-amplitude clock-gene expression in vitro. We therefore expect Cirbp knock-out (KO) mice to exhibit attenuated sleep-deprivation induced changes in clock-gene expression, and consequently to differ in their sleep homeostatic regulation. Lack of CIRBP indeed blunted the sleep-deprivation incurred changes in cortical expression of Nr1d1 whereas it amplified the changes in Per2 and Clock. Concerning sleep homeostasis, KO mice accrued only half the extra REM sleep wild-type (WT) littermates obtained during recovery. Unexpectedly, KO mice were more active during lights-off which was accompanied with faster theta oscillations compared to WT mice. Thus, CIRBP adjusts cortical clock-gene expression after sleep deprivation and expedites REM-sleep recovery.