Friday, March 24, 2017

Aggression among flies as a model behavior for studies related to human neurological disorders

Zwarts L, Vulsteke V, Buhl E, Hodge JJ, Callaerts P. SlgA, the homologue of the human schizophrenia associated PRODH gene, acts in clock neurons to regulate Drosophila aggression. Dis Model Mech. 2017 Mar 22. pii: dmm.027151. PMID: 28331058.

From the abstract: "Mutations in proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) are linked to behavioral alterations in schizophrenia ... We here establish a Drosophila model to study the role of PRODH in behavioral disorders. We ... show that knock-down and overexpression of human PRODH and slgA in the lateral neurons ventral (LNv) lead to altered aggressive behavior. SlgA acts in an isoform-specific manner and is regulated by casein kinase II (CkII). Our data suggest that these effects are, at least partially, due to effects on mitochondrial function. We thus show that precise regulation of proline metabolism is essential to drive normal behavior and we identify Drosophila aggression as a model behavior relevant for the study of mechanisms impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Study of Ets96B/ETV5 connects obesity and bipolar disorder at a molecular level

Williams MJ, Klockars A, Eriksson A, Voisin S, Dnyansagar R, Wiemerslage L, Kasagiannis A, Akram M, Kheder S, Ambrosi V, Hallqvist E, Fredriksson R, Schiöth HB. The Drosophila ETV5 Homologue Ets96B: Molecular Link between Obesity and Bipolar Disorder. PLoS Genet. 2016 Jun 9;12(6):e1006104. PubMed PMID: 27280443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4900636.

From the abstract: "Several reports suggest obesity and bipolar disorder (BD) share some physiological and behavioural similarities. ... Here we demonstrate, using whole transcriptome analysis, that Drosophila Ets96B, homologue of obesity-linked gene ETV5, regulates cellular systems associated with obesity and BD. Consistent with a role in obesity and BD, loss of nervous system Ets96B during development increases triacylglyceride concentration, while inducing a heightened startle-response, as well as increasing hyperactivity and reducing sleep. Of notable interest, mouse Etv5 and Drosophila Ets96B are expressed in dopaminergic-rich regions, and loss of Ets96B specifically in dopaminergic neurons recapitulates the metabolic and behavioural phenotypes. Moreover, our data indicate Ets96B inhibits dopaminergic-specific neuroprotective systems. Additionally, we reveal that multiple SNPs in human ETV5 link to body mass index (BMI) and BD, providing further evidence for ETV5 as an important and novel molecular intermediate between obesity and BD. ... a connection between the obesity-linked gene ETV5 and bipolar disorder emphasizes a functional relationship between obesity and BD at the molecular level."

Review article addresses the question, Can flies help us find plant-based medicines?

Panchal K, Tiwari AK. Drosophila melanogaster "a potential model organism" for identification of pharmacological properties of plants/plant-derived components. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Mar 18;89:1331-1345. PubMed PMID: 28320100.

From the abstract: "Plants/plant-derived components have been used from ancient times to treat/cure several human diseases. ... long time consumption cause serious health concerns such as hyperallergic reactions, liver damage, etc. ... The current review focuses on the potential of Drosophila melanogaster for the identification of medicinal/pharmacological properties associated with plants/plant-derived components."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Results of a study in Drosophila suggest the possible relevance of neuronal aneuploidy to Tau-associated neurodegeneration

Malmanche N, Dourlen P, Gistelinck M, Demiautte F, Link N, Dupont C, Vanden Broeck L, Werkmeister E, Amouyel P, Bongiovanni A, Bauderlique H, Moechars D, Royou A, Bellen HJ, Lafont F, Callaerts P, Lambert JC, Dermaut B. Developmental Expression of 4-Repeat-Tau Induces Neuronal Aneuploidy in Drosophila Tauopathy Models. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 23;7:40764. PMID: 28112163.

From the abstract: "Tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and tauopathies is generally assumed to start in a normally developed brain. However, several lines of evidence suggest that impaired Tau isoform expression during development could affect mitosis and ploidy in post-mitotic differentiated tissue. ... Here, we used genetic and cellular tools to study the link between 3R and 4R-Tau isoform expression, mitotic progression in neuronal progenitors and post-mitotic neuronal survival. Our results illustrated that the severity of Tau-induced adult phenotypes depends on 4R-Tau isoform expression during development. ... we found a high level of aneuploidy in post-mitotic differentiated tissue. ... our results suggested that neurodegeneration could be in part linked to neuronal aneuploidy caused by 4R-Tau expression during brain development."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Using flies to functionally validate candidate heart disease-related genes

Zhu JY, Fu Y, Nettleton M, Richman A, Han Z. High throughput in vivo functional validation of candidate congenital heart disease genes in Drosophila. Elife. 2017 Jan 13;6. pii: e22617. PMID: 28084990.

From the abstract: "... We developed a Drosophila-based functional system to screen candidate disease genes identified from Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) patients. 134 genes were tested in the Drosophila heart using RNAi-based gene silencing. Quantitative analyses of multiple cardiac phenotypes demonstrated essential structural, functional, and developmental roles for more than 70 genes ... We also demonstrated the use of Drosophila to evaluate cardiac phenotypes resulting from specific, patient-derived alleles of candidate disease genes. ... This approach has the potential to facilitate development of precision medicine approaches for CHD and other diseases associated with genetic factors."

Review of drug discovery using model organisms including Drosophila

Strange K. Drug Discovery in Fish, Flies, and Worms. ILAR J. 2016 Dec;57(2):133-143. PMID: 28053067.

From the abstract: "Nonmammalian model organisms ... provide numerous experimental advantages for drug discovery including genetic and molecular tractability, amenability to high-throughput screening methods and reduced experimental costs and increased experimental throughput compared to traditional mammalian models. ... This review will provide an overview of C. elegans, Drosophila, and zebrafish biology and husbandry and will discuss how these models are being used for phenotype-based drug screening and for identification of drug targets and mechanisms of action. ..."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Modified fly cultured cells as a biotherapeutic? Study suggests this could one day be an effective approach

Roy DG, Power AT, Bourgeois-Daigneault MC, Falls T, Ferreira L, Stern A, Tanese de Souza C, McCart JA, Stojdl DF, Lichty BD, Atkins H, Auer RC, Bell JC, Le Boeuf F. Programmable insect cell carriers for systemic delivery of integrated cancer biotherapy. J Control Release. 2015 Dec 28;220(Pt A):210-21. PMID: 26482080.

From the abstract: "Due to cancer's genetic complexity, significant advances in the treatment of metastatic disease will require sophisticated, multi-pronged therapeutic approaches. Here we demonstrate the utility of a Drosophila melanogaster cell platform for the production and in vivo delivery of multi-gene biotherapeutic systems. We show that cultured Drosophila S2 cell carriers can stably propagate oncolytic viral therapeutics that are highly cytotoxic for mammalian cancer cells without adverse effects on insect cell viability or gene expression. Drosophila cell carriers administered systemically to immunocompetent animals trafficked to tumors to deliver multiple biotherapeutics with little apparent off-target tissue homing or toxicity, resulting in a therapeutic effect. ..."