Amyloid precursor protein (App) plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's disease via the production and deposition of toxic β-amyloid peptides. App is heavily expressed in neurons, the focus of the vast majority of studies investigating its function. Meanwhile, almost nothing is known about App's function in glia, where it is also expressed, and can potentially participate in the regulation of neuronal physiology. In this report, we investigated whether Appl, the Drosophila homolog of App, could influence sleep–wake regulation when its function is manipulated in glial cells. Appl inhibition in astrocyte-like and cortex glia resulted in higher sleep amounts and longer sleep bout duration during the night, while overexpression had the opposite effect. These sleep phenotypes were not the result of developmental defects, and were correlated with changes in expression in glutamine synthetase (GS) in astrocyte-like glia and in changes in the gap-junction component innexin2 in cortex glia. Downregulating both GS and innexin2, but not either one individually, resulted in higher sleep amounts, similarly to Appl inhibition. Consistent with these results, the expression of GS and innexin2 are increased following sleep deprivation, indicating that GS and innexin2 genes are dynamically linked to vigilance states. Interestingly, the reduction of GS expression and the sleep phenotype observed upon Appl inhibition could be rescued by increasing the expression of the glutamate transporter dEaat1. In contrast, reducing dEaat1 expression severely disrupted sleep. These results associate glutamate recycling, sleep, and a glial function for the App family proteins.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The amyloid precursor protein (App) has been intensively studied for its implication in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The attributed functions of App are linked to the physiology and cellular biology of neurons where the protein is predominantly expressed. Consequences on glia in AD are generally thought to be secondary effects of the pathology in neurons. Researchers still do not know whether App plays a role in glia in nonpathological conditions. We report here that glial App plays a role in physiology and in the regulation of sleep/wake, which has been shown recently to be involved in AD pathology. These results also associate glutamate recycling and sleep regulation, adding further complexity to the physiological role of App and to its implication in AD.