The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is an excellent organism for the study of the genetic and molecular basis of metazoan development. Drosophila provides numerous tools and reagents to unravel the molecular and cellular functions of genes that cause human disease, and the past decade has witnessed a significant expansion of the study of neurodegenerative disease mechanisms in flies. Here we review the interplay between oxidative stress and neuronal toxicity.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complex multifactorial disease marked by extensive neuropathology in the brain with selective yet prominent and progressive loss of mid-brain dopaminergic neurons. The etiological factors involved in the development of PD are still elusive, but oxidative stress arising when reactive oxygen species (ROS) exceed amounts required for normal redox signaling is considered one of the major factors. ROS cause oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA and are one of the most prominent factors related to neurodegeneration.
Previous studies have shown that polyphenols might be potent neuroprotective agents in Drosophila melanogaster wild type Canton-S acutely or chronically treated with paraquat (PQ), a selective toxin for elimination of dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons by oxidative stress (OS), as model of Parkinson's disease (PD).
A common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is mutations in superoxide dismutase-1, which provoke the disease by an unknown mechanism. We have previously found that soluble hydrophobic misfolded mutant human superoxide dismutase-1 species are enriched in the vulnerable spinal cords of transgenic model mice. The levels were broadly inversely correlated with life spans, suggesting involvement in the pathogenesis.
Tumor endothelium marker-8 (TEM8) and capillary morphogenesis protein-2 (CMG2) are the two well-characterized anthrax toxin receptors, each containing a von Willebrand factor A (vWA) domain responsible for anthrax protective antigen (PA) binding. Recently, a cell-based analysis was used to implicate another vWA domain-containing protein, integrin ?1 as a third anthrax toxin receptor. To explore whether proteins other than TEM8 and CMG2 function as anthrax toxin receptors in vivo, we challenged mice lacking TEM8 and/or CMG2.
European Neuropsychopharmacology: The Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Alzheimer's disease (AD) appears to be a uniquely human condition, which is possibly attributable to our expanded longevity and peculiar capacity for episodic memory. Due to a lack of naturally-occurring animal model for investigating AD pathogenesis, our knowledge about the disease must be derived from correlational observation of humans, or from animal models produced by genetic manipulation of known risk factors in humans.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological condition with no cure. Mitochondrial dysfunction, Ca(2+) overloading and local hypoxic/ischemic environments have been implicated in the pathophysiology of ALS and are conditions that may initiate metabolic acidosis in the affected tissue. We tested the hypothesis that acidotoxicity and acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are involved in the pathophysiology of ALS. We found that motoneurons were selectively vulnerable to acidotoxicity in vitro, and that acidotoxicity was partially reduced in asic1a-deficient motoneuron cultures.
Sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are a highly conserved family of NAD(+)-dependent enzymes that control the activity of histone and nonhistone regulatory proteins. SIRT1 is purposed to promote longevity and to suppress the initiation of some cancers. Nevertheless, SIRT1 is reported to function as a tumor suppressor as well as an oncogenic protein. Our data show that compared with normal liver or surrounding tumor tissue, SIRT1 is strongly overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Accumulation of tau is a critical event in several neurodegenerative disorders, collectively known as tauopathies, which include Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. Pathological tau is hyperphosphorylated and aggregates to form neurofibrillary tangles. The molecular mechanisms leading to tau accumulation remain unclear and more needs to be done to elucidate them. Age is a major risk factor for all tauopathies, suggesting that molecular changes contributing to the aging process may facilitate tau accumulation and represent common mechanisms across different tauopathies.
Neurodegeneration is a hallmark of the human disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) that is caused by mutation of the A-T mutated (ATM) gene. We have analyzed Drosophila melanogaster ATM mutants to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in A-T. Previously, we found that ATM mutants upregulate the expression of innate immune response (IIR) genes and undergo neurodegeneration in the central nervous system. Here, we present evidence that activation of the IIR is a cause of neurodegeneration in ATM mutants.