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Shiraishi, R., Tamura, T., Sone, M., Okazawa, H. (2014). Systematic analysis of fly models with multiple drivers reveals different effects of ataxin-1 and huntingtin in neuron subtype-specific expression.  PLoS ONE 9(12): e116567.
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The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a commonly used model organism for neurodegenerative diseases. Its major advantages include a short lifespan and its susceptibility to manipulation using sophisticated genetic techniques. Here, we report the systematic comparison of fly models of two polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases. We induced expression of the normal and mutant forms of full-length Ataxin-1 and Huntingtin exon 1 in cholinergic, dopaminergic, and motor neurons, and glial cells using cell type-specific drivers. We systematically analyzed their effects based on multiple phenotypes: eclosion rate, lifespan, motor performance, and circadian rhythms of spontaneous activity. This systematic assay system enabled us to quantitatively evaluate and compare the functional disabilities of different genotypes. The results suggest different effects of Ataxin-1 and Huntingtin on specific types of neural cells during development and in adulthood. In addition, we confirmed the therapeutic effects of LiCl and butyrate using representative models. These results support the usefulness of this assay system for screening candidate chemical compounds that modify the pathologies of polyQ diseases.

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PMC4281079 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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