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Nature. 2000 Mar 23;404(6776):394-8.

A Drosophila model of Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, formation of filamentous intraneuronal inclusions (Lewy bodies) and an extrapyramidal movement disorder. Mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene are linked to familial Parkinson's disease and alpha-synuclein accumulates in Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. Here we express normal and mutant forms of alpha-synuclein in Drosophila and produce adult-onset loss of dopaminergic neurons, filamentous intraneuronal inclusions containing alpha-synuclein and locomotor dysfunction. Our Drosophila model thus recapitulates the essential features of the human disorder, and makes possible a powerful genetic approach to Parkinson's disease.

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