Drosophila models of prionopathies: insight into prion protein function, transmission, and neurotoxicity

Pedro Fernandez-Funez, Jonatan Sanchez-Garcia, Diego E. Rincon-Limas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Prion diseases (PrD) are unique neurodegenerative conditions with sporadic, genetic, and infectious etiologies. The agent responsible for these pathologies is a misfolded conformation of the prion protein (PrP). Although a process of autocatalytic “conversion” is known to mediate disease transmission, important gaps still remain regarding the physiological function of PrP and its relevance to pathogenesis, the molecular and cellular mechanisms mediating neurotoxicity and transmission, and the PrP conformations responsible for neurotoxicity. New Drosophila models expressing mammalian PrP have revealed physiological insight into PrP function and opened the door to significant progress in prion transmission and PrP neurotoxicity. Importantly, flies expressing human PrP showing a robust eye phenotype will allow performing genetic screens to uncover novel mechanisms mediating PrP neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Genetics and Development
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to thank the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center (NIH P40OD018537) for Drosophila strains and Javier A. Fernandez-Ambite for assistance with the figures. This work was completed in part with the support of the NIH grant R21 NS096627-01A1 to PFF.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


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