Fer2MB09480 homozygous adults show significant decreases in lifespan and in locomotor capacity (in a startle-induced climbing assay) and a significant and progressive decrease in the number of autophagosomes (i.e. Atg-8-positive puncta) in the PAM neuron region in the adult brain, as compared to heterozygous and wild-type controls.
The number of PAM dopaminergic neurons is slightly reduced in Fer2MB09480 mutant flies on eclosion, and neuron loss continues progressively at least up to 28 days.
The majority of visible mitochondria in the cell bodies of remaining PAM neurons in Fer2MB09480 mutant flies are in enlarged aggregations and do not form tubular networks as in th control flies.
Reactive oxygen levels (ROS) are significantly elevated throughout the brain in 5-day old Fer2MB09480 mutant flies compared with age-matched controls. ROS levels are elevated in PAM dopaminergic neurons. Feeding flies a non-lethal dose of hydrogen peroxide significantly decreases the number of PAM dopaminergic neurons in Fer2MB09480 homozygotes, but not in heterozygotes. Other dopaminergic neuron clusters are unaffected in both homozygotes and heterozygotes.