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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Drosophila as a novel animal model for studying the genetics of age-related memory impairment.

Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying age-related memory impairment (AMI) is important not only from a scientific viewpoint but also for the development of therapeutics that may eventually lead to the development of drugs to combat memory loss. AMI has been generally considered to be an overall or nonspecific decay of memory processes that results from dysfunction of neural networks. However, behavioral genetics to test this hypothesis have not been performed previously, due, in part, to the long lifespan of animal models. Using Drosophila, the first extensive behavioral-genetic characterization of AMI has been carried out. In Drosophila, memory acquired after a single olfactory conditioning paradigm has three distinct phases: short-term memory (STM), middle-term memory (MTM), and longer-lasting anesthesia-resistant memory (ARM). Significantly, AMI results from the specific decay of only one memory component, amnesiac-dependent MTM, and not other components. Since amnesiac encodes peptides that enhance adenylyl cyclase activity, these studies suggest the importance of the cAMP signaling pathway in AMI in Drosophila, a finding consistent with several models of AMI in mammals. Although many advances have been made in the study of pathways involved in aging, much remains to be elucidated on how these pathways affect memory formation to cause AMI. Due to its short lifespan, powerful genetics, and well-characterized and conserved pathways involved in memory and lifespan, Drosophila will be a useful model system for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying this process.[1]


  1. Drosophila as a novel animal model for studying the genetics of age-related memory impairment. Saitoe, M., Horiuchi, J., Tamura, T., Ito, N. Reviews in the neurosciences. (2005) [Pubmed]
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