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Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 12;7(1):11268. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11594-2.

Anti-Aβ single-chain variable fragment antibodies restore memory acquisition in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurology, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Center for Smell and Taste, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Neurology, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Neuroscience and Center for Translational Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases, Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, Duluth, MN, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disorder triggered by the accumulation of soluble assemblies of the amyloid-β42 (Aβ42) peptide. Despite remarkable advances in understanding the pathogenesis of AD, the development of palliative therapies is still lacking. Engineered anti-Aβ42 antibodies are a promising strategy to stall the progression of the disease. Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies increase brain penetration and offer flexible options for delivery while maintaining the epitope targeting of full antibodies. Here, we examined the ability of two anti-Aβ scFv antibodies targeting the N-terminal (scFv9) and C-terminal (scFv42.2) regions of Aβ42 to suppress the progressive memory decline induced by extracellular deposition of Aβ42 in Drosophila. Using olfactory classical conditioning, we observe that both scFv antibodies significantly improve memory performance in flies expressing Aβ42 in the mushroom body neurons, which are intimately involved in the coding and storage of olfactory memories. The scFvs effectively restore memory at all ages, from one-day post-eclosion to thirty-day-old flies, proving their ability to prevent the toxicity of different pathogenic assemblies. These data support the application of this paradigm of Aβ42-induced memory loss in Drosophila to investigate the protective activity of Aβ42-binding agents in an AD-relevant functional assay.

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