Drosophila as an Animal Model for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Goal 1: Understanding the normal function of Amyloid Precursor Protein in nervous systems. In the latest paper by Rieche et al. 2018 we show APP function in a visual working memory of Drosophila. The natural age-related memory impairment can be prevented by changing the processing of APP.

Goal 2: Understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases without the ethical problems often associated with vertebrate animal models. These projects are done in collaboration with medical-oriented groups. Behavior turns out to be often a useful and sensitive early indicator of neurodegenerative processes in the nervous system of flies.

The ellipsoid body (green, center) is the seat of the visual working memory of Drosophila. Cells of the R3-ring system are labeled with double-tagged APP to be able to localize its fragments after processing. The N-terminus is tagged with GFP (green) and the C-terminus with RFP (red). Unprocessed APP and processed APP, where fragments have not yet separated appears in green. Foto: Franziska Rieche


Alzheimer´€™s disease

  • Rieche, F., Carmine-Simmen, K., Poeck, B., Kretzschmar, D., Strauss, R. (2018) Drosophila full-length Amyloid Precursor Protein is required for visual working memory and prevents age-related memory impairment. Current Biology 28: 817–823. Link
  • Poeck, B., Strauss, R., Kretzschmar, D. (2011). Analysis of amyloid precursor protein function in Drosophila melanogaster. Exp. Brain Res. 217: 413-421.
  • Carmine-Simmen, K., Proctor, T., Tschäpe, J., Poeck, B., Triphan, T., Strauss, R. and Kretzschmar, D. (2009). Neurotoxic effects induced by the Drosophila Amyloid-β peptide suggest a conserved toxic function. Neurobiology of Disease 33: 274-281.

Polyglutamin diseases:

  • Kretzschmar, D., Tschäpe, J., Bettencourt Da Cruz, A., Asan, E., Poeck, B., Strauss, R., Pflugfelder, G.O. (2004). Glial and neuronal expression of polyglutamine proteins induce behavioural changes and aggregate formation in Drosophila. Glia: 49: 59-72.