Neurobiology

NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES / Neurobiology

Research Interests

Mechanisms of neurodegeneration in human diseases using Drosophila genetics.

Description of Research

In our laboratory we have created fruit fly models of the most common human neurodegenerative diseases, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease and (AD) and Spastic Paraplegia. By modulating the expression of conserved proteins, we have recreated the main characteristics of the human disorders in flies. We are now utilizing the genetic tools developed in Drosophila to identify genes and metabolic pathways controlling the onset and progression of ALS. Similar strategy was taken to study AD and Spastic Paraplegia. We hope that these studies will provide insight into neuronal homeostasis and lead to new treatments.

Ventral ganglia of a Drosophila melanogasterthird instar larva, stained for neurons, GABAergic neurons and glial cells.

Recent Publications

Romano, G., Holodkov, N., Klima, R., Grilli, F., Guarnaccia, C., Nizzardo, M., Rizzo, F., Garcia, R., Feiguin, F. 2018. Downregulation of glutamic acid decarboxylase in Drosophila TDP-43-null brains provokes paralysis by affecting the organization of the neuromuscular synapses. Sci Rep doi:10.1038/s41598-018-19802-3 PubMed link

Langellotti, S., Romano, G., Feiguin, F., Baralle, F.E., Romano, M. 2018. RhoGAPp190: A potential player in tbph-mediated neurodegeneration in Drosophila. PLoS One 13 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195845. eCollection 2018 PubMed link

Lo Piccolo, L., Bonaccorso, R., Attardi, A., Li, Greci, L., Romano, G., Sollazzo, M., Giurato, G., Ingrassia, A.M.R., Feiguin, F., Corona, D.F.V., Onorati, M.C. 2018. Loss of ISWI Function in Drosophila Nuclear Bodies Drives Cytoplasmic Redistribution of Drosophila TDP-43. Int J Mol Sci 19 pii: E1082. doi: 10.3390/ijms19041082 PubMed link

Appocher, C., Mohagheghi, F., Cappelli, S., Stuani, C., Romano, M., Feiguin, F., Buratti, E. 2017. Major hnRNP proteins act as general TDP-43 functional modifiers both in Drosophila and human neuronal cells. Nucleic Acids Res doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx477 PubMed link

Di Giorgio, M.L., Esposito, A., Maccallini, P., Micheli, E., Bavasso, F., Gallotta, I., Vernì, F., Feiguin, F., Cacchione, S., McCabe, B.D., Di Schiavi, E., Raffa, G.D. 2017. WDR79/TCAB1 plays a conserved role in the control of locomotion and ameliorates phenotypic defects in SMA models. Neurobiol Dis doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.05.005 PubMed link

Langellotti, S., Romano, V., Romano, G., Klima, R., Feiguin, F., Cragnaz, L., Romano, M., Baralle, F.E. 2016. A novel fly model of TDP-43 proteinopathies: N-terminus sequences combined with the Q/N domain induce protein functional loss and locomotion defects. Dis Model Mech pii: dmm.023382 PubMed link