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Preventing Neurodegeneration in the Drosophila Mutant bubblegum

Science  18 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5422, pp. 1985-1988
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1985

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Abstract

The Drosophila melanogaster recessive mutantbubblegum (bgm) exhibits adult neurodegeneration, with marked dilation of photoreceptor axons. The bubblegummutant shows elevated levels of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs), as seen in the human disease adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). In ALD, the excess can be lowered by dietary treatment with “Lorenzo's oil,” a mixture of unsaturated fatty acids. Feeding the fly mutant one of the components, glyceryl trioleate oil, blocked the accumulation of excess VLCFAs as well as development of the pathology. Mutant flies thus provide a potential model system for studying mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease and screening drugs for treatment.

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