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Polymorphisms in early neurodevelopmental genes affect natural variation in alcohol sensitivity in adult drosophila

In this paper, scientists use drosophila melanogaster to study variation in alcohol-related phenotypes. Using the sequenced, inbred lines of Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) coupled with extreme QTL mapping, a genome wide association analysis was performed on both resistant and sensitive DGRP lines. 247 candidate genes were identified to have an affect on DGRP or DGRP-derived populations. Many of these genes were tied to development and nervous system function. 58 of these genes were found to form a genetic network. Two thirds of the genes found have been implicated through previous studies. Authors conclude by stating that individual variation is highly polygenic and are partway determined by evolutionary pathways that are linked to neurodevelopmental genes.

The interplay between obesity and cancer: a fly view

Drosophila Melanogaster provides a relatively simple model for studying disease mechanisms and the interplay between disease and environment. Around 600 million individuals worldwide have been diagnosed with obesity. Because obesity has been shown to increase risk of cancer by a significant amount, this research aims to use fruit flies as a whole-animal model to better understand the relationship between obesity and cancer. Obesity not only increases an individual’s risk for cancers of the liver, kidneys, thyroid, and colon, it increase the aggressiveness of tumors. This gives this study relevance.

Malignant Neoplasms of Genetic Origin in Drosophila melanogaster

This paper is very old and it discusses 12 different recessive-lethal genes in Drosophila that causes the development of malignant neoplasms (cancer). In fruit flies, many of the cells grow by endomitosis and cell enlargement and are not capable of transforming into neoplasms. But there are a few types of cells in larva that are able to turn into malignant neoplasms. Some are the imaginal disc cells, adult optic neuroblasts and ganglion-mother cells in the brain, gonadal cells, and blood cells. The paper describes the different genes that they discovered that caused fatal neoplasms in the previously mentioned cell types. It was interesting to read this article because it represented a lot of work that was put in to discover all the genes that we now know about that can cause cancer in fruit flies. 

Gut Dysbiosis Is Linked to Hypertension

The University of Florida published a in 2015 on observed correlations between gut dysbiosis and hypertension (blood pressure). It sounded like they were reporting on multiple experiments in one paper. They took bacterial DNA from the fecal samples of 2 rat models of hypertension and a small number of patients for bacterial genomic analysis. They observed a significant decrease in microbial richness, diversity, and evenness in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Specifically in acetate- and butyrate-producing bacteria. Increased levels of Firmicutes, bacteria associated with obesity, were also observed. The humans in their study followed the same pattern seen in the rats. Interestingly when hypertensive rats were given the blood pressure drug and anti-biotic minocycline a bloom of various phyla was observed. The intraorganismal chemical pathway is still unclear.

Targeted Genome Editing of Sweet Orange Using Cas9/ sgRNA

Previous research has demonstrated that it is possible to silence genes using Cas9/sgRNA-mediated mutations and agroinfiltration. The endonuclease Cas9 combined with a guide RNA can localize with and cut portions of a genome designated by the guide RNA. The main idea behind this genome editing technique (as demonstrated in the paper) is to eliminate undesirable genes and express desirable ones. Agroinfiltration is the process of transforming a synthetic gene into a bacteria vector and coating the plant with the vector. The bacteria sits in between the plant cells and facilitates the transfer of the gene into the host plant. The researchers confirmed uptake of the gene by including a GUS sequence in the vector, which, when translated, is an easily recognizable pigment protein.  The results of the experiment were simple: deletion of genes in a sweet orange is possible using the CRISPR technology, just as it is in other similar plants. The hope is to increase the ability of sweet or ...

Muscles provide protection during microbial infection by activating innate immune response pathways in Drosophila and zebrafish

 Muscle tissue has been shown to be associated with an immune response, the exact mechanism of this interaction is unknown. This research study shows through both a zebrafish and drosophila model that muscles are indeed implicated in effective immune response. Specifically the drosophila model was created by inactivating IMF’s or the indirect flight muscles of the flies. By rendering these muscles defective it the humoral response of the drosophila’s immune system was lacking. Because IMF’s are similar to both vertebrate muscles and cardiac muscles, this model shows potential application to larger and or human organisms.

The role of TORC1 in muscle development in Drosophila

The protein complex, mTORC1, is found to be essential in muscle development. This research group silenced genes for dTORC1 subunit Raptor in Drosophila to look at the effects on fly development. Examining the flies appearance inside the pupal cases, they looked identical to the control flies just before eclosion meaning they were fully developed. A few days after, the Raptor flies morphology appeared black and dead. These results demonstrate that Raptor knockdown in skeletal muscle produces lethality after pupal development, but prior to eclosure. How do they know its muscle weakness that isn’t allowing them to eclose? Well when pupal cases were gently opened to assist them in eclosure, the group ran trials of the fly’s ability to climb up the vial when knocked down to the bottom. Those flies exhibited a drastic reduce climbing ability. The group goes on to test silencing Raptor and another gene with multiple drivers, and that allowed some flies to eclose. But overall they noticed a wi ...

Drosophila in cancer research: to boldly go where no one has gone before

In this article, the authors talk about how important the fruit fly has been in the discovery of various pathways that are critical in human disease. They talked a lot about a few specific things that have been discovered, most of which I don't really understand, but the main point is that studying Drosophila has been very helpful in furthering cancer research which is one of the things we are working on in our lab. 

A kinase-regulated PDZ-domain interaction controls endocytic sorting of the b2-adrenergic receptor

This paper was about how cells know whether to recycle membrane proteins or destroy them after endocytosis. It's crazy how many things the cell does as if it had a mind of its own. A mind smarter than ours since we barely know anything about the 1000's of highly regulated projects it simultaneously undergoes. Researchers at the University of California discovered that a protein complex attaches to the cytoplasmic tail of the particular transmembrane protein they were studying at one end and to the actin cytoskeleton on the other. This complex is made of two proteins essentially forming two links in a chain to the actin cytoskeleton. Disruption of this chain/complex results in the cell's loss of ability to recycle the transmembrane protein back to its original activity. (This particular protein was a signaling protein).