Title: Genetic Approaches to Improve Learning Ability in Fruit Flies
Speaker : Prof. Joong-Jean Park (Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Korea University)
Date: Apr. 10 (Mon.), 2017
Time: 05:00 PM
Location: Woo Jung Information & Communication bldg., Room 601
Hosted by Dept. of Brain & Cognitive Engineering, Korea University / Institute of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University / BK21+ Global Leader Development Division in Brain Engineering, Korea University / Interdisciplinary Major in Brain and Cognitive Science
Discovery of genetic factors involved in the control of behaviors is interesting and important, since it can not only improve the understanding of behaviors but offer opportunity to develop treatments for behavioral disorders. Facing this challenge, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), which show complicated behaviors in various aspects and of which genome-wide transgenic and mutant stocks are available, are useful model animals. Fly memory is impaired with aging, as humans. Thus, it is called aging-related memory impairment (AMI). In addition, neuronal over-expression of human Tau protein causes cognitive impairment in flies due to Tau toxicity, that is called tauopathy memory impairment (TMI). We have been looking for genes improving both AMI and TMI. Fly models of these AMI and TMI are established, using the aversive olfactory learning/memory paradigm. Because there is a tendency that the AMI is delayed as lifespan is extended, we hypothesized that genes improving both AMI and TMI should exist among the genes that extend the lifespan. In our previous studies, a pool of novel lifespan-extending genes was screened by measuring lifespan of approximately 30 thousand transgenic fly stocks. Among these novel lifespan-extending genes, a handful of genes expressed in the nervous system was selected for the primary candidate genes improving AMI and TMI. We identified several genes mitigating Tau toxicity and improving learning ability of the TMI model. Further studies have been conducted to reveal how these genes are associated with AMI and TMI.