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Gaining sleep while losing synapses

It has been suggested that synaptic weakening occurs during sleep to counterbalance daytime synaptic strengthening. The authors found that sleep was associated with a reduction in the level of postsynaptic AMPA receptors compared with awake periods, indicating homeostatic scaling down. The mechanism involves expression of the transcription factor HOMER1A; during the day, HOMER1A expression increases at non-synaptic locations, but at sleep onset the protein is recruited to the postsynaptic density, where it drives AMPA receptor removal and synaptic weakening.


  1. Diering, G. H. et al. Homer1a drives homeostatic scaling-down of excitatory synapses during sleep. Science 355, 511–515 (2017)

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Lewis, S. Gaining sleep while losing synapses. Nat Rev Neurosci 18, 194 (2017).

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