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Calap-Quintana, P., González-Fernández, J., Sebastiá-Ortega, N., Llorens, J.V., Moltó, M.D. (2017). Drosophila melanogaster Models of Metal-Related Human Diseases and Metal Toxicity.  Int. J. Mol. Sci. 18(7): E1456.
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Iron, copper and zinc are transition metals essential for life because they are required in a multitude of biological processes. Organisms have evolved to acquire metals from nutrition and to maintain adequate levels of each metal to avoid damaging effects associated with its deficiency, excess or misplacement. Interestingly, the main components of metal homeostatic pathways are conserved, with many orthologues of the human metal-related genes having been identified and characterized in Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila has gained appreciation as a useful model for studying human diseases, including those caused by mutations in pathways controlling cellular metal homeostasis. Flies have many advantages in the laboratory, such as a short life cycle, easy handling and inexpensive maintenance. Furthermore, they can be raised in a large number. In addition, flies are greatly appreciated because they offer a considerable number of genetic tools to address some of the unresolved questions concerning disease pathology, which in turn could contribute to our understanding of the metal metabolism and homeostasis. This review recapitulates the metabolism of the principal transition metals, namely iron, zinc and copper, in Drosophila and the utility of this organism as an experimental model to explore the role of metal dyshomeostasis in different human diseases. Finally, a summary of the contribution of Drosophila as a model for testing metal toxicity is provided.

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PMC5535947 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Int. J. Mol. Sci.
    International journal of molecular sciences
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