A model for studying Alzheimer's Abeta42-induced toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2004 Jul;26(3):365-75. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2004.03.001.


Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder resulting in the degeneration and death of brain neurons controlling memory, cognition and behavior. Although overproduction of Abeta peptides is widely considered a causative event in the disease, the mechanisms by which Abeta peptides cause neurodegeneration and the processes of Abeta clearance and degradation remain unclear. To address these issues, we have expressed the Abeta peptides in Drosophila melanogaster. We show that overexpression of Abeta42 peptides in the nervous system results in phenotypes associated with neuronal degeneration in a dose- and age-dependent manner. We further show that a mutation in a Drosophila neprilysin gene suppresses the Abeta42 phenotypes by lowering the levels of the Abeta42 peptide, supporting the role of neprilysin in the catabolism of Abeta peptides in vivo. We propose that our Drosophila model is suitable for the study and elucidation of Abeta metabolism and toxicity at the genetic level.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / biosynthesis*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Brain Chemistry / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neprilysin / physiology
  • Peptide Fragments / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments / biosynthesis*
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics*
  • Peptide Fragments / toxicity
  • Phenotype


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • Neprilysin