This week in techniques



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Assays & screens

Small molecule fruit fly screening platform for regulators of sleep

A small molecule fruit fly screening platform could be useful for identifying new candidates to treat insomnia. Adult fruit flies are placed in tubes with food containing 20 mM of a test compound and then loaded into an activity monitoring system. The screening system was applied to a library of 1,280 bioactive small molecules and identified reserpine, a small molecule inhibitor of vesicular monoamine transporters (VMATs), as a compound that increased sleep in the flies. Follow-up validation studies showed that Vmat-null flies slept longer than wild-type controls. Next steps include using the screen to study how different neurotransmitter systems affect sleep behavior.
Reserpine is a generic antipsychotic and antihypertensive drug.

SciBX 6(21); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.528
Published online May 30, 2013

Unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Nall, A.H. & Sehgal, A. J. Neurosci.; published online May 8, 2013;
Contact: Amita Sehgal, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa.