Modelling neurodegenerative diseases in Drosophila: a fruitful approach?

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Mar;3(3):237-43. doi: 10.1038/nrn751.


Human neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive loss of specific neuronal populations, resulting in substantial disability and early death. The identification of causative single-gene mutations in families with inherited neurodegenerative disorders has facilitated the modelling of these diseases in experimental organisms, including the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Many neurodegenerative diseases have now been successfully modelled in Drosophila, and genetic analysis is under way in each of these models. Using fruitfly genetics to define the molecular pathways that underlie the neurodegenerative process is likely to improve substantially our understanding of the pathogenesis of the human diseases, and to provide new therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion / genetics