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A tauopathy model of Alzheimer's disease in Drosophila melanogaster

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thesis
posted on 2023-05-27, 09:38 authored by Van Drunen, SF
Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia, decreasing a person's functionality in memory, personality and eventually motor domains, leading to the need for full time care. Tau is a protein in the brain which becomes dysfunctional in Alzheimer's and the localisation of tau pathology is associated with the deficits people experience, starting in learning and memory areas such as the hippocampus. Drosophila melanogaster provide a useful model for studying Alzheimer's disease. In the current study I verified a model of tau dysfunction induced in the whole brain (pan-neuronally) and investigated a novel model specific to the learning and memory area of the brain in Drosophila, the mushroom body. Consistent with the literature, the pan-neuronal tau flies had deficits in motor performance and a decreased lifespan compared to controls. Flies with mushroom body specific tauopathy had a deficit in learning and memory, decreased lifespan and abnormal morphology of the affected brain region compared to controls. The next step of this research is to study gene expression in the learning and memory neurons. This will allow us to understand the epigenetic changes induced by tauopathy, paving the way for the development of targeted screening tools and treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

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