Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Big Lessons from Tiny Flies: Drosophila Melanogaster as a Model to Explore Dysfunction of Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Neurotransmitter Systems

Version 1 : Received: 22 May 2018 / Approved: 22 May 2018 / Online: 22 May 2018 (14:05:40 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Kasture, A.S.; Hummel, T.; Sucic, S.; Freissmuth, M. Big Lessons from Tiny Flies: Drosophila melanogaster as a Model to Explore Dysfunction of Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Neurotransmitter Systems. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1788. Kasture, A.S.; Hummel, T.; Sucic, S.; Freissmuth, M. Big Lessons from Tiny Flies: Drosophila melanogaster as a Model to Explore Dysfunction of Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Neurotransmitter Systems. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1788.

Journal reference: Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1788
DOI: 10.3390/ijms19061788

Abstract

The brain of Drosophila melanogaster is comprised of some 100,00 neurons, 127 and 80 of which are dopaminergic and serotonergic, respectively. Their activity regulates behavioral functions equivalent to those in mammals, e.g. motor activity, reward and aversion, memory formation, feeding, sexual appetite etc. Mammalian dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons are known to be heterogeneous. They differ in their projections and in their gene expression profile. A sophisticated genetic tool box is available, which allows for targeting virtually any gene with amazing precision in Drosophila melanogaster. Similarly, Drosophila genes can be replaced by their human orthologs including disease-associated alleles. Finally, genetic manipulation can be restricted to single fly neurons. This has allowed for addressing the role of individual neurons in circuits, which determine attraction and aversion, sleep and arousal, odor preference etc. Flies harboring mutated human orthologs provide models, which can be interrogated to understand the effect of the mutant protein on cell fate and neuronal connectivity. These models are also useful for proof-of-concept studies to examine the corrective action of therapeutic strategies. Finally, experiments in Drosophila can be readily scaled up to an extent, which allows for drug screening with reasonably high throughput.

Subject Areas

Drosophila, dopamine, serotonin, neurodegeneration, neurotransmitter transporters, vesicular monoamine transporters

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