The Power and Richness of Modelling Tauopathies in Drosophila
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- Papanikolopoulou, K. & Skoulakis, E.M.C. Mol Neurobiol (2011) 44: 122. doi:10.1007/s12035-011-8193-1
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Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders characterised by altered levels of phosphorylation or mutations in the neuronal microtubule protein Tau. The heterogeneous pathology of tauopathies suggests differential susceptibility of different neuronal types to wild-type and mutant Tau. The genetic power and facility of the Drosophila model has been instrumental in exploring the molecular aetiologies of tauopathies, identifying additional proteins likely contributing to neuronal dysfunction and toxicity and novel Tau phosphorylations mediating them. Importantly, recent results indicate tissue- and temporal-specific effects on dysfunction and toxicity coupled with differential effects of distinct Tau isoforms within them. Therefore, they reveal an unexpected richness of the Drosophila model that, coupled with its molecular genetic power, will likely play a significant role in our understanding of multiple tauopathies potentially leading to their differential treatment.