Characterization of a novel gene involved in the neuronal development of Drosophila melanogaster
Despite vast differences in complexity, neuronal development in invertebrates and vertebrates has several common aspects. Hence, studies in model organisms like Drosophila melanogaster have led to a greater understanding of neuronal development. Although the basic mechanisms in this field are well worked out, the roles of many genes remain unknown. At present, we are working on one such gene. Studies in the lab have shown its expression in neuroblasts and a subset of neurons in the central as well as the peripheral nervous system. It has recently been reported to be involved in the Notch pathway, which has several roles to play in formation and differentiation of neurons.
Understanding locomotion and reproduction in Drosophila
Propagation of characters across generations requires successful reproduction. Reproduction involves interplay of several molecular players. Thus, it is not surprising that mutations affecting other traits also affect reproduction. Our work focuses on understanding how the mutations causing motor defects affect reproduction in Drosophila. Using both forward and reverse genetics approach, we are working on three candidate genes (all of which have been reported to show motor defects) to understand their role in Drosophila reproduction.
Neurodegeneration studies using Drosophila
We are using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system for studying human neurodegenerative diseases which show characteristic protein aggregation phenotypes, particularly tauopathy and Alzheimer’s disease.