A mutation in Drosophila Aldolase causes temperature-sensitive paralysis, shortened lifespan, and neurodegeneration

J Neurogenet. 2012 Sep;26(3-4):317-27. doi: 10.3109/01677063.2012.706346. Epub 2012 Aug 13.


We describe the characterization of m4, an autosomal recessive, temperature-sensitive paralytic mutant in Drosophila that is associated with shortened lifespan and neurodegeneration. Deletion mapping places the mutation in the gene encoding the glycolytic enzyme, Aldolase. The mutant enzyme contains a single amino acid substitution, which results in decreased steady-state levels of Aldolase with a consequent reduction in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels. Transgenic-rescue experiments with a genomic construct containing the entire Aldolase gene confirm that paralysis, reduced lifespan, and neurodegeneration all result from the same mutation. Tissue-specific rescue and RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown experiments indicate that Aldolase function (and presumably glycolysis) is important both in neurons and in glia for normal lifespan and neuronal maintenance over time. Impaired glycolysis in neurons can apparently be rescued in part by glycolytically active glia. However, this rescue may depend on the exact physiological state of the neurons and may also vary in different subsets of neurons. Further studies of m4 and related mutants in Drosophila should help elucidate the connections between energy production and utilization in glia and neurons and lead to better understanding of how metabolic defects impair neuronal function and maintenance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase / genetics*
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Nerve Degeneration / genetics*
  • Neuroglia / drug effects
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Paralysis / complications
  • Paralysis / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Somatosensory Disorders / complications
  • Somatosensory Disorders / genetics*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase