Author(s): Mallik M, Lakhotia SC
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Abstract Polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases, resulting from a dynamic expansion of glutamine repeats in a polypeptide, are a class of genetically inherited late onset neurodegenerative disorders which, despite expression of the mutated gene widely in brain and other tissues, affect defined subpopulations of neurons in a disease-specific manner. We briefly review the different polyQ-expansion-induced neurodegenerative disorders and the advantages of modelling them in Drosophila. Studies using the fly models have successfully identified a variety of genetic modifiers and have helped in understanding some of the molecular events that follow expression of the abnormal polyQ proteins. Expression of the mutant polyQ proteins causes, as a consequence of intra-cellular and inter-cellular networking, mis-regulation at multiple steps like transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulations, cell signalling, protein quality control systems (protein folding and degradation networks), axonal transport machinery etc., in the sensitive neurons, resulting ultimately in their death. The diversity of genetic modifiers of polyQ toxicity identified through extensive genetic screens in fly and other models clearly reflects a complex network effect of the presence of the mutated protein. Such network effects pose a major challenge for therapeutic applications.
This article was published in J Genet
and referenced in Advanced Techniques in Biology & Medicine