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Front Genet. 2019 Feb 13;10:10. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00010. eCollection 2019.

Drosophila melanogaster as a Model to Study the Multiple Phenotypes, Related to Genome Stability of the Fragile-X Syndrome.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, DiSTeBA, Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy.
Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, France.
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR7104, Illkirch, France.
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U964, Illkirch, France.
Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France.


Fragile-X syndrome is one of the most common forms of inherited mental retardation and autistic behaviors. The reduction/absence of the functional FMRP protein, coded by the X-linked Fmr1 gene in humans, is responsible for the syndrome. Patients exhibit a variety of symptoms predominantly linked to the function of FMRP protein in the nervous system like autistic behavior and mild-to-severe intellectual disability. Fragile-X (FraX) individuals also display cellular and morphological traits including branched dendritic spines, large ears, and macroorchidism. The dFmr1 gene is the Drosophila ortholog of the human Fmr1 gene. dFmr1 mutant flies exhibit synaptic abnormalities, behavioral defects as well as an altered germline development, resembling the phenotypes observed in FraX patients. Therefore, Drosophila melanogaster is considered a good model to study the physiopathological mechanisms underlying the Fragile-X syndrome. In this review, we explore how the multifaceted roles of the FMRP protein have been addressed in the Drosophila model and how the gained knowledge may open novel perspectives for understanding the molecular defects causing the disease and for identifying novel therapeutical targets.


DNA damage response; FMRP/dFmr1; Fragile-X syndrome; neurological diseases; piRNA pathway; transposon elements

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