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Modeling Amyloid Disease in Drosophila melanogaster
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biochemistry. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Amyloid diseases are caused by protein misfolding and aggregation. To date there are 27 known proteins causing amyloid disorders involving brain and peripheral protein deposition. The proteins involved in this mechanism do not share sequence homology, but the amyloid fibrils share biophysical properties and possibly a common pathogenic mechanism. Amyloid deposits are known to be involved in a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, as well as in non-neuropathic diseases, such as senile systemic amyloidosis and type II diabetes.

During the last decade the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster (Drosophila), have increasingly been used as a model for neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy. The advantages of using the Drosophila model are the well-defined genetic characteristics, the quantity, short life span, simplicity in genetic manipulation and the powerful binary UAS-Gal4 transgenic system. The UAS-Gal4 system allows for rapid generation of individual strains in which expression of a specific gene of interest can be directed to different tissues or cell types. The system allows the target gene to be activated in different cell- and tissue-types by altering the activator-expressing lines.

This thesis has been focused on modeling amyloid diseases in Drosophila. This has been performed by:

  • Creating new model systems of senile systemic amyloidosis and familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy in Drosophila
  • Developing a new staining protocol for detection of amyloid in Drosophila
  • Initiate a compound screen of Alzheimer’s disease modeled in Drosophila
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 88 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1320
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-55025ISBN: 978-91-7393-379-7OAI: diva2:314365
Public defence
2010-05-21, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2010-04-27 Created: 2010-04-27 Last updated: 2010-04-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Modeling Familial Amyloidotic Polyneuropathy (Transthyretin V30M) in Drosophila melanogaster
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling Familial Amyloidotic Polyneuropathy (Transthyretin V30M) in Drosophila melanogaster
2009 (English)In: NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES, ISSN 1660-2854, Vol. 6, no 3, 127-138 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background/Aims: Transthyretin (TTR) is a prevalent plasma and cerebrospinal fluid protein associated with sporadic and heritable amyloidosis. TTR amyloidosis is linked to a vast number of mutations with varying phenotype, tissue distribution and age of onset. The most prevalent mutation associated with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is the V30M mutation. Studies of transgenic mouse models of TTR V30M FAP have been hampered by variable phenotype, low disease penetrance, and slow onset. Methods/Results: To model TTR-associated amyloid disease in the Drosophila model system, transgenic Drosophila were generated, expressing wild-type (wt) TTR or TTR V30M, associated with sporadic senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA) and inherited FAP, respectively. We found that expression of FAP-associated TTR V30M mutant in the nervous system resulted in reduced lifespan and in reduced climbing ability indicating neurological impairment, whereas expression of TTR wt showed a milder phenotype. Congo red staining of the Drosophila brain shows positive amyloid binding in the aged TTR V30M flies. Extensive brain vacuole formation was evident for the aged TTR V30M flies, whereas a milder phenotype was shown by the TTR wt flies. In addition, expression of TTR V30M in the eye leads to tissue damage, including rough eye, morphological changes and fibrous deposition. Conclusion: Our results suggest that Drosophila is a promising complementary system for studies of TTR-associated amyloid diseases.

Amyloid disease, Drosophila melanogaster, Transthyretin, Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-18382 (URN)10.1159/000213761 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-05-25 Created: 2009-05-25 Last updated: 2015-05-28
2. Efficient imaging of amyloid deposits in Drosophila models of human amyloidoses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficient imaging of amyloid deposits in Drosophila models of human amyloidoses
2010 (English)In: Nature Protocol, ISSN pISSN: 1754-2189 eISSN: 1750-2799, Vol. 5, no 5, 935-944 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drosophila melanogaster is emerging as an important model system for neurodegenerative disease research. In this protocol, we describe an efficient method for imaging amyloid deposits in the Drosophila brain, by the use of a luminescent-conjugated oligothiophene (lco), p-Ftaa polymer probe. We also demonstrate the feasibility of co-staining with antibodies and compare the lco staining with standard amyloid-specific probes. the lco protocol enables high-resolution imaging of several different protein aggregates, such as aβ1-42, aβ1-42e22G, transthyretin V30M and human tau, in the Drosophila brain. aβ and tau aggregates could also be distinguished from each other because of distinct lco emission spectra. Furthermore, this protocol enables threedimensional brain mapping of amyloid distribution in whole-mount Drosophila brains. the use of p-Ftaa combined with other probes, antibodies and/or dyes will aid the rapid characterization of various amyloid deposits in the rapidly growing number of Drosophila models of neurodegenerative diseases.

National Category
Natural Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-55024 (URN)10.1038/nprot.2010.41 (DOI)000277174100012 ()
Available from: 2010-04-27 Created: 2010-04-27 Last updated: 2015-05-28
3. Curcumin alleviates Aβ indcuced neurotoxicity and vice versa without removing amyloid deposits in transgenic Drosophila
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Curcumin alleviates Aβ indcuced neurotoxicity and vice versa without removing amyloid deposits in transgenic Drosophila
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Curcumin has been proposed to facilitate clearance of toxic amyloid formed by the Aβ peptide. To further address this notion, different concentrations of curcumin were tried for its effects in various Drosophila Alzheimer’s disease (AD) models. This study entailed five different Drosophila AD models (four Aβ expressing lines, and one tau expressing line), expressing the AD associated proteins using the Gal4/UAS system. These were assayed for several aspects of neurological impairment, including survival, climbing behavior, as well as locomotor activity. In addition, amyloid deposition was assessed by histological analysis. Curcumin treatment substantially prolonged the lifespan and improved climbing and locomotor activity for flies with severe disease geneotypes (Aβ1-42 E22G and double expressing Aβ1-42). In comparison, curcumin feeding of control flies resulted in a concentration-dependent shortened lifespan, whereas no such toxic side effects were found for AD genotypes with a mild phenotype (single expressors of Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42). All flies expressing Aβ and tau displayed a higher total locomotor activity, and a continuation of the activity over a larger number of hours upon curcumin treatment. Unexpectedly, no change in tissue amyloid deposition upon curcumin treatment was observed. In vitro fibrillation of Aβ1-42, followed by Western blot and transmission electron microscopy in the presence and absence of curcumin, displayed enhanced fibrillation into large aggregates and decreased population of oligomers in curcumin samples. The decrease in oligomer formation by curcumin may explain why it increases the lifespan and activity without removing of the amyloid deposits seen in tissues. We also suggest that Aβ, at least in the context of Drosophila, functions as a chemical detoxifier sequestering curcumin and thereby mitigating its toxicity.

National Category
Natural Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-55020 (URN)
Available from: 2010-04-27 Created: 2010-04-27 Last updated: 2014-04-08

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