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Unlocking The Power of Neurotrophins: While analyzing the effects of DNT1 on the overproduction of TAU within Drosophila Melanogaster

Malik Moore head shot

Name: Malik Moore
Major: Neuroscience-Biology
Advisor: Seth Kelly

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, have become increasingly prevalent in aging societies, causing significant global health concerns. Tau protein accumulation and neuronal death in the brain are the hallmark features of Alzheimer’s disease. This study aimed to investigate the hypothesis that increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels can reduce the production of Tau and reverse behavioral effects in a fly model of neurodegeneration. In creating a testable scientific model, previous data has suggested that the fly DNT1 protein has neurotrophic functions similar to human BDNF. Previous research has suggested that the loss of neurotrophic factor expression contributes to neurodegeneration. We used the GAL4-UAS system to overexpress Tau in all neurons and tested the effects of full-length DNT1 and the cleaved version of DNT1, known as Cysknot DNT1. This study found that overexpression of full-length DNT1 in all neurons promoted recovery from the behavioral dysfunction caused by overexpression of Tau. The findings suggest that full-length DNT1 and other neurotrophic factors may be valuable assets in understanding the mechanisms in individuals expressing Alzheimer’s disease, which could later be used in creating potential pharmaceutical treatments while incorporating BDNF. This study also confirmed that flies overexpressing Tau slept less during the 24-hour light cycle and that full-length DNT1 successfully combated the behavioral disorientation shown by Drosophila with the overproduction of Tau during the night period.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 19, 2023.


2 responses to “Unlocking The Power of Neurotrophins: While analyzing the effects of DNT1 on the overproduction of TAU within Drosophila Melanogaster”

  1. Katie Fleig says:

    Congratulations, Malik!!

  2. Tim Freeze says:

    Congratulations, Malik! This is fascinating research. I see that DNT-1 is like the fruit-fly version of BDNF, which your poster convinces me I want to have. Is there a human correlate to Tau? Is that something I don’t want to overproduce?

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