Honors College Thesis


Exploring Potential Therapeutics Using a Drug Screening Platform in Drosophila melanogaster Public Deposited

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  • Mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases are not completely understood in humans. Studying model organisms like Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the common fruit fly, can help humans better understand the aging process and diseases related to aging. From previous studies demonstrated in Drosophila, an accelerated aging model has been discovered that involves the p38 MAP Kinase pathway (p38Kb). This pathway is a regulator of stress, lifespan, and age-related physiological changes (Vrailas-Mortimer, et al. 2011). Mutations within this pathway have been shown to have increased oxidative stress and locomotor defects, which is similar to how muscular dystrophies present in humans (Vrailas-Mortimer, et al. 2011). In this experiment, I screened for drug compounds that improved locomotor behaviors and rhythmicity functions in mutant flies (p38Kb Δ45) compared to the wild-type flies (p38Kb Ex41). I tracked locomotor behavior over six days using the Drosophila Activity Monitor (DAM). I tested a total of 21 FDA-approved drugs with 13 drug compounds that worsened locomotor function, three drug compounds that had no notable change in locomotor function, and five drug compounds that showed restorative ability in locomotor function in mutant flies. These findings serve as a foundation for future investigations aimed at finding treatments for movement disorders in humans.
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