Drosophila models for studying iron-related neurodegenerative diseases.
In recent years, iron has been regarded as a common pathological feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD) and Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA). A number of genes involved in iron transport, storage and regulation have been found associated with initiation and progression of neurodegeneration. However, whether iron abnormalities represent a primary or secondary event still remains unknown. Due to the limitation in transgenic rodent model construction and transfection systems, the progress in unraveling the pathogenic role of different iron-related proteins in neurodegenerative diseases has been slow. Drosophila melanogaster, a simple organism which has a shorter lifespan and smaller genome with many conserved genes, and captures many features of human nervous system and neurodegeneration, may help speed up the progress. The characteristics that spatial- and temporal-specific transgenic Drosophila can be easily constructed and raised in large quantity with phenotype easily determined turn Drosophila into an excellent in vivo genetic system for screening iron-related modifiers in different neurodegenerative conditions and hence provide a better picture about the pathogenic contribution of different iron-related protein abnormalities. It is believed that identification of important iron-related genes that can largely stop or even reverse degenerative process in Drosophila models may lead to development of novel therapeutic strategies against neurodegenerative diseases.
- [PubMed - in process]
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