Dissecting the pathological effects of human Aβ40 and Aβ42 in Drosophila: A potential model for Alzheimer's disease
Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in the brain has been suggested to be the primary event in sequential progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we use Drosophila to examine whether expression of either the human Aβ40 or Aβ42 peptide in the Drosophila brain can induce pathological phenotypes resembling AD. The expression of Aβ42 led to the formation of diffused amyloid deposits, age-dependent learning defects, and extensive neurodegeneration. In contrast, expression of Aβ40 caused only age-dependent learning defects but did not lead to the formation of amyloid deposits or neurodegeneration. These results strongly suggest that accumulation of Aβ42 in the brain is sufficient to cause behavioral deficits and neurodegeneration. Moreover, Drosophila may serve as a model for facilitating the understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying Aβ toxicity and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for AD.