G-protein ?q gene expression plays a role in alcohol tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster.
ABSTRACT: Ethanol is a psychoactive substance causing both short- and long-term behavioural changes in humans and animal models. We have used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the effect of ethanol exposure on the expression of the G?q protein subunit. Repetitive exposure to ethanol causes a reduction in sensitivity (tolerance) to ethanol, which we have measured as the time for 50% of a set of flies to become sedated after exposure to ethanol (ST50). We demonstrate that the same treatment that induces an increase in ST50 over consecutive days (tolerance) also causes a decrease in G?q protein subunit expression at both the messenger RNA and protein level. To identify whether there may be a causal relationship between these two outcomes, we have developed strains of flies in which G?q messenger RNA expression is suppressed in a time- and tissue-specific manner. In these flies, the sensitivity to ethanol and the development of tolerance are altered. This work further supports the value of Drosophila as a model to dissect the molecular mechanisms of the behavioural response to alcohol and identifies G proteins as potentially important regulatory targets for alcohol use disorders.
Project description:When exposed to ethanol, Drosophila melanogaster display a variety of addiction-like behaviours similar to those observed in mammals. Sensitivity to ethanol can be quantified by measuring the time at which 50% of the flies are sedated by ethanol exposure (ST50); an increase of ST50 following multiple ethanol exposures is widely interpreted as development of tolerance to ethanol. Sensitivity and tolerance to ethanol were measured after administration of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor B (GABAB ) agonist (SKF 97541) and antagonist (CGP 54626), when compared with flies treated with ethanol alone. Dose-dependent increases and decreases in sensitivity to ethanol were observed for both the agonist and antagonist respectively. Tolerance was recorded in the presence of GABAB drugs, but the rate of tolerance development was increased by SKF 97451 and unaltered in presence of CGP 54626. This indicates that the GABAB receptor contributes to both the sensitivity to ethanol and mechanisms by which tolerance develops. The data also reinforce the usefulness of Drosophila as a model for identifying the molecular components of addictive behaviours and for testing drugs that could potentially be used for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Project description:Sustained or repeated exposure to sedating drugs such as alcohol triggers homeostatic adaptations in the brain that lead to the development of drug tolerance and dependence. These adaptations involve long-term changes in the transcription of drug-responsive genes as well as an epigenetic restructuring of chromosomal regions that is thought to signal and maintain the altered transcriptional state. Drug-induced epigenetic changes have been shown to be important in the long-term adaptation that leads to alcohol tolerance and dependence endophenotypes. A major constraint impeding progress is that alcohol produces a surfeit of changes in gene expression, most that may not make any meaningful contribution to the ethanol response under study. Here we used a novel genomic epigenetic approach to find genes relevant for functional alcohol tolerance by exploiting the commonalities of two chemically distinct drugs. In Drosophila melanogaster, ethanol and benzyl alcohol induce mutual cross-tolerance, indicating that they share a common mechanism for producing tolerance. We surveyed the genome-wide changes in histone acetylation that occur in response to these drugs. Each drug induces modifications in a large number of genes. The genes that respond similarly to either treatment, however, represent a subgroup enriched for genes important for the common tolerance response. Genes were functionally tested for behavioral tolerance to the sedative effects of ethanol and benzyl alcohol using mutant and inducible RNAi stocks. We identified a network of genes that are essential for the development of tolerance to sedation by alcohol. A total of six samples. Two H4Ac ChIP-chip biological replicates from heads of Drosophila (untreated, IP/input), two H4Ac ChIP-chip biological replicates from heads of Drosophila sedated with benzyl alcohol (IP_treated/IP_control), and two H4Ac ChIP-chip biological replicates from heads of Drosophila sedated with ethanol (IP_treated/IP_control) are included.
Project description:Prenatal exposure to ethanol in humans results in a wide range of developmental abnormalities, including growth deficiency, developmental delay, reduced brain size, permanent neurobehavioral abnormalities and fetal death. Here we describe the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a model for exploring the effects of ethanol exposure on development and behavior. We show that developmental ethanol exposure causes reduced viability, developmental delay and reduced adult body size. We find that flies reared on ethanol-containing food have smaller brains and imaginal discs, which is due to reduced cell division rather than increased apoptosis. Additionally, we show that, as in mammals, flies reared on ethanol have altered responses to ethanol vapor exposure as adults, including increased locomotor activation, resistance to the sedating effects of the drug and reduced tolerance development upon repeated ethanol exposure. We have found that the developmental and behavioral defects are largely due to the effects of ethanol on insulin signaling; specifically, a reduction in Drosophila insulin-like peptide (Dilp) and insulin receptor expression. Transgenic expression of Dilp proteins in the larval brain suppressed both the developmental and behavioral abnormalities displayed by ethanol-reared adult flies. Our results thus establish Drosophila as a useful model system to uncover the complex etiology of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Project description:Repeated alcohol consumption leads to the development of tolerance, simply defined as an acquired resistance to the physiological and behavioural effects of the drug. This tolerance allows increased alcohol consumption, which over time leads to physical dependence and possibly addiction. Previous studies have shown that Drosophila develop ethanol tolerance, with kinetics of acquisition and dissipation that mimic those seen in mammals. This tolerance requires the catecholamine octopamine, the functional analogue of mammalian noradrenaline. Here we describe a new gene, hangover, which is required for normal development of ethanol tolerance. hangover flies are also defective in responses to environmental stressors, such as heat and the free-radical-generating agent paraquat. Using genetic epistasis tests, we show that ethanol tolerance in Drosophila relies on two distinct molecular pathways: a cellular stress pathway defined by hangover, and a parallel pathway requiring octopamine. hangover encodes a large nuclear zinc-finger protein, suggesting a role in nucleic acid binding. There is growing recognition that stress, at both the cellular and systemic levels, contributes to drug- and addiction-related behaviours in mammals. Our studies suggest that this role may be conserved across evolution.
Project description:Alcohol addiction is a common affliction with a strong genetic component . Although mammalian studies have provided significant insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol consumption , other organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster are better suited for unbiased, forward genetic approaches to identify novel genes. Behavioral responses to ethanol, such as hyperactivity, sedation, and tolerance, are conserved between flies and mammals [3, 4], as are the underlying molecular pathways [5-9]. However, few studies have investigated ethanol self-administration in flies . Here we characterize ethanol consumption and preference in Drosophila. Flies prefer to consume ethanol-containing food over regular food, and this preference increases over time. Flies are attracted to the smell of ethanol, which partially mediates ethanol preference, but are averse to its taste. Preference for consuming ethanol is not entirely explained by attraction to either its sensory or caloric properties. We demonstrate that flies can exhibit features of alcohol addiction. First, flies self-administer ethanol to pharmacologically relevant concentrations. Second, flies will overcome an aversive stimulus in order to consume ethanol. Third, flies rapidly return to high levels of ethanol consumption after a period of imposed abstinence. Thus, ethanol preference in Drosophila provides a new model for studying aspects of addiction.
Project description:The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has estimated that approximately 14 million people in the United States suffer from alcoholism. Alcohol sensitivity, the development of tolerance to alcohol and susceptibility to addiction vary in the population. Whereas environmental factors, such as stress and social experience, contribute to individual variation in sensitivity to chronic alcohol consumption, genetic factors have also been implicated. However, genetic polymorphisms that predispose to alcoholism remain largely unknown due to extensive genetic and environmental variation in human populations. Drosophila, however, allows studies on genetically identical individuals in controlled environments. Although addiction to alcohol has not been demonstrated in Drosophila, flies show responses to alcohol exposure that resemble human intoxication, including hyperactivity, loss of postural control, sedation, and exposure-dependent development of tolerance. We assessed whole-genome transcriptional responses following alcohol exposure and demonstrate immediate down-regulation of olfactory sensitivity and, concomitant with development of tolerance, altered transcription of enzymes associated with fatty acid biosynthesis. Our results identify key enzymes in conserved metabolic pathways that may contribute to human alcohol sensitivity. Experiment Overall Design: Alcohol sensitivity in Drosophila melanogaster can be quantified in an inebriometer. The elution time from the column is used as a measure of sensitivity to alcohol intoxication. Overall design: We collected 3-5 day old Canton S flies either without exposure to ethanol (control group), immediately after passage through the inebriometer, or from a population that had developed tolerance 2h after the initial ethanol exposure.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Alcoholism is a complex disorder determined by interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors. Drosophila represents a powerful model system to dissect the genetic architecture of alcohol sensitivity, as large numbers of flies can readily be reared in defined genetic backgrounds and under controlled environmental conditions. Furthermore, flies exposed to ethanol undergo physiological and behavioral changes that resemble human alcohol intoxication, including loss of postural control, sedation, and development of tolerance. RESULTS: We performed artificial selection for alcohol sensitivity for 35 generations and created duplicate selection lines that are either highly sensitive or resistant to ethanol exposure along with unselected control lines. We used whole genome expression analysis to identify 1,678 probe sets with different expression levels between the divergent lines, pooled across replicates, at a false discovery rate of q < 0.001. We assessed to what extent genes with altered transcriptional regulation might be causally associated with ethanol sensitivity by measuring alcohol sensitivity of 37 co-isogenic P-element insertional mutations in 35 candidate genes, and found that 32 of these mutants differed in sensitivity to ethanol exposure from their co-isogenic controls. Furthermore, 23 of these novel genes have human orthologues. CONCLUSION: Combining whole genome expression profiling with selection for genetically divergent lines is an effective approach for identifying candidate genes that affect complex traits, such as alcohol sensitivity. Because of evolutionary conservation of function, it is likely that human orthologues of genes affecting alcohol sensitivity in Drosophila may contribute to alcohol-associated phenotypes in humans.
Project description:The heavy consumption of ethanol can lead to alcohol use disorders (AUDs) which impact patients, their families, and societies. Yet the genetic and physiological factors that predispose humans to AUDs remain unclear. One hypothesis is that alterations in mitochondrial function modulate neuronal sensitivity to ethanol exposure. Using Drosophila genetics we report that inactivation of the mitochondrial outer membrane translocator protein 18kDa (TSPO), also known as the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, affects ethanol sedation and tolerance in male flies. Knockdown of dTSPO in adult male neurons results in increased sensitivity to ethanol sedation, and this effect requires the dTSPO depletion-mediated increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and inhibition of caspase activity in fly heads. Systemic loss of dTSPO in male flies blocks the development of tolerance to repeated ethanol exposures, an effect that is not seen when dTSPO is only inactivated in neurons. Female flies are naturally more sensitive to ethanol than males, and female fly heads have strikingly lower levels of dTSPO mRNA than males. Hence, mitochondrial TSPO function plays an important role in ethanol sensitivity and tolerance. Since a large array of benzodiazepine analogues have been developed that interact with the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, the mitochondrial TSPO might provide an important new target for treating AUDs.
Project description:Ethanol induces similar behavioral responses in mammals and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. By coupling assays for ethanol-related behavior to the genetic tools available in flies, a number of genes have been identified that influence physiological responses to ethanol. To enhance the utility of the Drosophila model for investigating genes involved in ethanol-related behavior, we explored the value of an assay that measures the sedative effects of ethanol on negative geotaxis, an evoked locomotor response.We established eRING (ethanol Rapid Iterative Negative Geotaxis) as an assay for quantitating the sedative effects of ethanol on negative geotaxis (i.e., startle-induced climbing). We validated the assay by assessing acute sensitivity to ethanol and rapid ethanol tolerance in several different control strains and in flies with mutations known to disrupt these behaviors. We also used eRING in a candidate screen to identify mutants with altered ethanol-related behaviors.Negative geotaxis measured in eRING assays was dose-dependently impaired by ethanol exposure. Flies developed tolerance to the intoxicating effects of ethanol when tested during a second exposure. Ethanol sensitivity and rapid ethanol tolerance varied across 4 control strains, but internal ethanol concentrations were indistinguishable in the 4 strains during a first and second challenge with ethanol. Ethanol sensitivity and rapid ethanol tolerance, respectively, were altered in flies with mutations in amnesiac and hangover, genes known to influence these traits. Additionally, mutations in the beta integrin gene myospheroid and the alpha integrin gene scab increased the initial sensitivity to ethanol and enhanced the development of rapid ethanol tolerance without altering internal ethanol concentrations.The eRING assay is suitable for investigating genetic mechanisms that influence ethanol sensitivity and rapid ethanol tolerance. Ethanol sensitivity and rapid ethanol tolerance depend on the function of alpha and beta integrins in flies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Increased ethanol intake, a major predictor for the development of alcohol use disorders, is facilitated by the development of tolerance to both the aversive and pleasurable effects of the drug. The molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol tolerance development are complex and are not yet well understood. METHODS:To identify genetic mechanisms that contribute to ethanol tolerance, we examined the time course of gene expression changes elicited by a single sedating dose of ethanol in Drosophila, and completed a behavioral survey of strains harboring mutations in ethanol-regulated genes. RESULTS:Enrichment for genes in metabolism, nucleic acid binding, olfaction, regulation of signal transduction, and stress suggests that these biological processes are coordinately affected by ethanol exposure. We also detected a coordinate up-regulation of genes in the Toll and Imd innate immunity signal transduction pathways. A multi-study comparison revealed a small set of genes showing similar regulation, including increased expression of 3 genes for serine biosynthesis. A survey of Drosophila strains harboring mutations in ethanol-regulated genes for ethanol sensitivity and tolerance phenotypes revealed roles for serine biosynthesis, olfaction, transcriptional regulation, immunity, and metabolism. Flies harboring deletions of the genes encoding the olfactory co-receptor Or83b or the sirtuin Sir2 showed marked changes in the development of ethanol tolerance. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings implicate novel roles for these genes in regulating ethanol behavioral responses.