Copper homeostasis gene discovery in Drosophila melanogaster

Biometals. 2007 Jun;20(3-4):683-97. doi: 10.1007/s10534-006-9075-2. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


Recent studies have shown a high level of conservation between Drosophila melanogaster and mammalian copper homeostasis mechanisms. These studies have also demonstrated the efficiency with which this species can be used to characterize novel genes, at both the cellular and whole organism level. As a versatile and inexpensive model organism, Drosophila is also particularly useful for gene discovery applications and thus has the potential to be extremely useful in identifying novel copper homeostasis genes and putative disease genes. In order to assess the suitability of Drosophila for this purpose, three screening approaches have been investigated. These include an analysis of the global transcriptional response to copper in both adult flies and an embryonic cell line using DNA microarray analysis. Two mutagenesis-based screens were also utilized. Several candidate copper homeostasis genes have been identified through this work. In addition, the results of each screen were carefully analyzed to identify any factors influencing efficiency and sensitivity. These are discussed here with the aim of maximizing the efficiency of future screens and the most suitable approaches are outlined. Building on this information, there is great potential for the further use of Drosophila for copper homeostasis gene discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genome, Insect
  • Homeostasis*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Copper