Neurite degeneration is a hallmark feature of nearly all neurodegenerative diseases, occurs after most brain trauma, and is thought to be the underlying cause of functional loss in patients. Understanding the genetic basis of neurite degeneration represents a major challenge in the neuroscience field. If it is possible to define key signaling pathways that promote neurite destruction, their blockade represents an exciting new potential therapeutic approach to suppressing neurological loss in patients. This review highlights recently developed models that can be used to study fundamental aspects of neuronal injury using the fruit fly Drosophila. The speed, precision, and powerful molecular-genetic tools available in the fruit fly make for an attractive system in which to dissect neuronal signaling after injury. Their use has led to the identification of some of the first molecules whose endogenous function includes promoting axonal degeneration after axotomy, and these signaling pathways appear functionally well conserved in mammals.
- Wallerian degeneration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)