Fruit Flies to Model and Test Fragile X Treatments

Fruit Flies to Model and Test Fragile X Treatments

Dr. Jongens and his collaborators have found an insulin-like protein in the fly brain that is overexpressed in the Fragile X mutant fly, leading to increased activity of the insulin signaling pathway. Furthermore, they found that certain behavioral patterns in the fragile X flies can be rescued by expressing the FX gene just in insulin producing neurons in the fly brain. In the mutant, there are other changes in the signaling pathways, including a decrease in cAMP and elevation in PI3K, mTOR, Akt and ERK activity. They now propose to study 2 medicines used for diabetes: pioglitazone (increases cAMP and decreases Akt and ERK) and metformin (inhibits mTOR), in flies and mice to validate the potential efficacy of these novel therapeutics for Fragile X.

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Matrix Metalloproteinase Therapeutic Treatments for Fragile X Syndrome

Matrix Metalloproteinase Therapeutic Treatments for Fragile X Syndrome

With a $157,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation in 201202013, Dr. Kendal Broadie and Dr. Cheryl Gatto worked to define the distinct but also overlapping roles for MMP-1 and MMP-2 in synaptic structural and functional development. In drug studies with fragile X fruit flies, they will be testing a range of MMPIs in drug treatments to compare effectiveness during development and at maturity, in order to define the contributions of FXS developmental impairments and adult recovery/plasticity.

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Novel Functions of Drosophila FMRP

Novel Functions of Drosophila FMRP

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Dr. Thomas Dockendorff from the University of Tennessee and his colleagues were pioneers in using the power of fly genetics to understand the different functions of the fly version of the fragile X protein.

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Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Fragile X Mutant Drosophila

Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Fragile X Mutant Drosophila

With an $80,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Dr. Ravi Allada and his team studied at Northwestern University sleep behaviors in fragile X fruit flies. These fruit flies are useful for several important reasons; not only do they have a good cognitive phenotype, they also have a clear disturbance of circadian rhythms. This is an important model for human hyperactivity and sleep disorders, and this group studied the underlying mechanisms in an effort to find treatments for the human conditions.

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Defining Functional Domains of FMRP and Uncovering its Partners via Large Scale Mutagenesis in Drosophila

Defining Functional Domains of FMRP and Uncovering its Partners via Large Scale Mutagenesis in Drosophila

Yong Zhang, PhD — Chinese Academy of Sciences with Xinda Lin, PhD, FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellow   FRAXA Awards: $40,000 in 2006 $40,000 in 2005   by Xinda Lin FMRP is a widely expressed RNA-binding protein involved in RNA transport and translation. Intensive studies in the last decade have demonstrated that FMRP contains four RNA binding domains, but their actual functions are mostly untested. Meanwhile, a dozen or so protein partners and hundreds of mRNA targets interacting with FMRP have been identified, but again their functions are poorly understood. It is important that the functional domains of FMRP and its interacting partners be identified and characterized in order to understand the pathogenesis of Fragile X. In the last five years, a Drosophila Fragile X model has provided a number of novel insights into FMRP function. Previous work was primarily focused on making null mutations of the gene and then analyzing the

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