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Nangia, V., O'Connell, J., Chopra, K., Qing, Y., Reppert, C., Chai, C.M., Bhasiin, K., Colodner, K.J. (2021). Genetic reduction of tyramine β hydroxylase suppresses Tau toxicity in a Drosophila model of tauopathy.  Neurosci. Lett. 755(): 135937.
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Tauopathies are a class of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the abnormal phosphorylation and accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein, Tau. These diseases are associated with degeneration and dysfunction of the noradrenergic system, a critical regulator of memory, locomotion, and the fight or flight response. Though Tau pathology accumulates early in noradrenergic neurons, the relationship between noradrenaline signaling and tauopathy pathogenesis remains unclear. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a valuable model organism commonly used to investigate factors that promote Tau-mediated degeneration. Moreover, Drosophila contain the biogenic amine, octopamine, which is the functional homolog to noradrenaline. Using a Drosophila model of tauopathy, we conducted a candidate modifier screen targeting tyramine β hydroxylase (tβh), the enzyme that controls the production of octopamine in the fly, to determine if levels of this enzyme modulate Tau-induced degeneration in the fly eye. We found that genetic reduction of tβh suppresses Tau toxicity, independent of Tau phosphorylation. These findings show that reduction of tβh, a critical enzyme in the octopaminergic pathway, suppresses Tau pathogenicity and establishes an interaction that can be further utilized to determine the relationship between noradrenergic-like signaling and Tau toxicity in Drosophila.

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    Neurosci. Lett.
    Neuroscience Letters
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