Exploring the possible roles of Drosophila IK2 gene in nervous system function
Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Many genetic mutations have been identified in ALS patients, including the mutations found in gene TBK1, it is not yet well understood how these mutations contribute to the pathogenesis of ALS. In this study, we tried to use Drosophila lines that lowered the expression of IK2 gene, the fly version of gene TBK1, to investigate the phenotypic and molecular changes of the affected flies. We found that lowering IK2 gene expression severely impaired larval crawling ability and the specific lowering of IK2 gene expression in adult eyes caused a characteristic neurotoxic rough eye phenotype. These studies support the normal amount of IK2 gene products are required for maintaining appropriate nervous system function, and thus flies could be a potential model organism to study neuronal dysfunction caused by TBK1 mutations. At the end we hope our studies could provide more molecular details on ALS disease caused by TBK1 mutations and eventually lead to better treatment methods for this devastating disease.
Olamide F. Adefioye* and Fang He
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