Project description:RNAi-mediated gene knockdown in Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful method to analyze loss-of-function phenotypes both in cell culture and in vivo. However, it has also become clear that false positives caused by off-target effects are prevalent, requiring careful validation of RNAi-induced phenotypes. The most rigorous proof that an RNAi-induced phenotype is due to loss of its intended target is to rescue the phenotype by a transgene impervious to RNAi. For large-scale validations in the mouse and Caenorhabditis elegans, this has been accomplished by using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) of related species. However, in Drosophila, this approach is not feasible because transformation of large BACs is inefficient. We have therefore developed a general RNAi rescue approach for Drosophila that employs Cre/loxP-mediated recombination to rapidly retrofit existing fosmid clones into rescue constructs. Retrofitted fosmid clones carry a selection marker and a phiC31 attB site, which facilitates the production of transgenic animals. Here, we describe our approach and demonstrate proof-of-principle experiments showing that D. pseudoobscura fosmids can successfully rescue RNAi-induced phenotypes in D. melanogaster, both in cell culture and in vivo. Altogether, the tools and method that we have developed provide a gold standard for validation of Drosophila RNAi experiments.
Project description:Two core factors of the NMD machinery in D. melanogaster, Upf1 and Upf2, were knocked down using RNAi, as described in Rehwinkel et al. (2005) RNA, PMID: 16199763. Each of the two knockdowns were compared to mock RNAi knockdowns as described in Blanchette et al. (2005) Genes Dev, PMID: 15937219 in a dual channel experiment, using a custom splice-junction microarray design, see Blanchette et al. (2005), PMID: 15937219. The aim of the experiment was to identify which isoforms of alternatively spliced genes were affected by NMD knockdown and thereby gain insight into the NMD mechanism in Drosophila. The samples were hybridized in a dual channel setup, to custom designed Splice-Junction arrays manufactured by Agilent. Overall design: A total of 6 independent knockdowns (3 Upf1 and 3 Upf2) were generated and hybridized to 6 different arrays. On each array a control sample was hybridized as well. The control sample is a pool of 3 independent mock RNAi knockdowns.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Systematic, large-scale RNA interference (RNAi) approaches are very valuable to systematically investigate biological processes in cell culture or in tissues of organisms such as Drosophila. A notorious pitfall of all RNAi technologies are potential false positives caused by unspecific knock-down of genes other than the intended target gene. The ultimate proof for RNAi specificity is a rescue by a construct immune to RNAi, typically originating from a related species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We show that primary sequence divergence in areas targeted by Drosophila melanogaster RNAi hairpins in five non-melanogaster species is sufficient to identify orthologs for 81% of the genes that are predicted to be RNAi refractory. We use clones from a genomic fosmid library of Drosophila pseudoobscura to demonstrate the rescue of RNAi phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster muscles. Four out of five fosmid clones we tested harbour cross-species functionality for the gene assayed, and three out of the four rescue a RNAi phenotype in Drosophila melanogaster. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The Drosophila pseudoobscura fosmid library is designed for seamless cross-species transgenesis and can be readily used to demonstrate specificity of RNAi phenotypes in a systematic manner.
Project description:Two core factors of the NMD machinery in D. melanogaster, Upf1 and Upf2, were knocked down using RNAi, as described in Rehwinkel et al. (2005) RNA, PMID: 16199763. Each of the two knockdowns were compared to mock RNAi knockdowns as described in Blanchette et al. (2005) Genes Dev, PMID: 15937219 in a dual channel experiment, using a custom splice-junction microarray design, see Blanchette et al. (2005), PMID: 15937219. The aim of the experiment was to identify which isoforms of alternatively spliced genes were affected by NMD knockdown and thereby gain insight into the NMD mechanism in Drosophila. The samples were hybridized in a dual channel setup, to custom designed Splice-Junction arrays manufactured by Agilent. A total of 6 independent knockdowns (3 Upf1 and 3 Upf2) were generated and hybridized to 6 different arrays. On each array a control sample was hybridized as well. The control sample is a pool of 3 independent mock RNAi knockdowns.
Project description:Mosquito-borne dengue virus (DENV, genus Flavivirus) has emerged as a major threat to global human health in recent decades, and novel strategies to contain the escalating dengue fever pandemic are urgently needed. RNA interference (RNAi) induced by exogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) has shown promise for treatment of flavivirus infections in hosts and prevention of transmission by vectors. However, the impact of RNAi triggered by authentic virus infection on replication of DENV, or any flavivirus, has received little study. The objectives of the current study were threefold: first, to assess the utility of Drosophila melanogaster S2 cells for the study of DENV, second to investigate the impact of multiple enzymes in the RNAi pathway on DENV replication; and third to test for variation in the response of the four serotypes of DENV to modulation of RNAi.Three strains from each of the four DENV serotypes showed replication in S2 cells following infection at multiplicity of infection (MOI) 0.1 and MOI 10; each strain achieved titers > 4.0 log10pfu/ml five days after infection at MOI 10. The four serotypes did not differ in mean titer. S2 cells infected with DENV-1, 2, 3 or 4 produced siRNAs, indicating that infection triggered an RNAi response. Knockdown of one of the major enzymes in the RNAi pathway, Dicer-2 (Dcr-2), resulted in a 10 to 100-fold enhancement of replication of all twelve strains of DENV in S2 cells. While serotypes did not differ in their average response to Dcr-2 knockdown, strains within serotypes showed significant differences in their sensitivity to Dcr-2 knockdown. Moreover, knockdown of three additional components of the RNAi pathway, Argonaute 2 (Ago-2), Dcr-1 and Ago-1, also resulted in a significant increase in replication of the two DENV strains tested, and the magnitude of this increase was similar to that resulting from Dcr-2 knockdown.These findings indicate that DENV can replicate in Drosophila S2 cells and that the RNAi pathway plays a role in modulating DENV replication in these cells. S2 cells offer a useful cell culture model for evaluation of the interaction between DENV and the RNAi response.
Project description:Pigmentation varies within and between species and is often adaptive. The amount of pigmentation on the abdomen of Drosophila melanogaster is a relatively simple morphological trait, which serves as a model for mapping the genetic basis of variation in complex phenotypes. Here, we assessed natural variation in female abdominal pigmentation in 175 sequenced inbred lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel, derived from the Raleigh, NC population. We quantified the proportion of melanization on the two most posterior abdominal segments, tergites 5 and 6 (T5, T6). We found significant genetic variation in the proportion of melanization and high broad-sense heritabilities for each tergite. Genome-wide association studies identified over 150 DNA variants associated with the proportion of melanization on T5 (84), T6 (34), and the difference between T5 and T6 (35). Several of the top variants associated with variation in pigmentation are in tan, ebony, and bric-a-brac1, genes known to affect D. melanogaster abdominal pigmentation. Mutational analyses and targeted RNAi-knockdown showed that 17 out of 28 (61%) novel candidate genes implicated by the genome-wide association study affected abdominal pigmentation. Several of these genes are involved in developmental and regulatory pathways, chitin production, cuticle structure, and vesicle formation and transport. These findings show that genetic variation may affect multiple steps in pathways involved in tergite development and melanization. Variation in these novel candidates may serve as targets for adaptive evolution and sexual selection in D. melanogaster.
Project description:The VCP-Ufd1-Npl4 complex regulates proteasomal processing within cells by delivering ubiquitinated proteins to the proteasome for degradation. Mutations in VCP are associated with two neurodegenerative diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and inclusion body myopathy with Paget's disease of the bone and frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD), and extensive study has revealed crucial functions of VCP within neurons. By contrast, little is known about the functions of Npl4 or Ufd1 in vivo. Using neuronal-specific knockdown of Npl4 or Ufd1 in Drosophila melanogaster, we infer that Npl4 contributes to microtubule organization within developing motor neurons. Moreover, Npl4 RNAi flies present with neurodegenerative phenotypes including progressive locomotor deficits, reduced lifespan and increased accumulation of TAR DNA-binding protein-43 homolog (TBPH). Knockdown, but not overexpression, of TBPH also exacerbates Npl4 RNAi-associated adult-onset neurodegenerative phenotypes. In contrast, we find that neuronal knockdown of Ufd1 has little effect on neuromuscular junction (NMJ) organization, TBPH accumulation or adult behaviour. These findings suggest the differing neuronal functions of Npl4 and Ufd1 in vivo.
Project description:Through long-term laboratory selection (over 200 generations), we have generated Drosophila melanogaster populations that tolerate severe, normally lethal, levels of hypoxia. Because of initial experiments suspecting genetic mechanisms underlying this adaptation, we compared the genomes of the hypoxia-selected flies with those of controls using deep resequencing. By applying unique computing and analytical methods we identified a number of DNA regions under selection, mostly on the X chromosome. Several of the hypoxia-selected regions contained genes encoding or regulating the Notch pathway. In addition, previous expression profiling revealed an activation of the Notch pathway in the hypoxia-selected flies. We confirmed the contribution of Notch activation to hypoxia tolerance using a specific ?-secretase inhibitor, N-[N-(3,5-Difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT), which significantly reduced adult survival and life span in the hypoxia-selected flies. We also demonstrated that flies with loss-of-function Notch mutations or RNAi-mediated Notch knockdown had a significant reduction in hypoxia tolerance, but those with a gain-of-function had a dramatic opposite effect. Using the UAS-Gal4 system, we also showed that specific overexpression of the Notch intracellular domain in glial cells was critical for conferring hypoxia tolerance. Unique analytical tools and genetic and bioinformatic strategies allowed us to discover that Notch activation plays a major role in this hypoxia tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster.
Project description:There are many well-studied examples of human phenotypes resulting from nonsense or frameshift mutations that are modulated by Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay (NMD), a process that typically degrades transcripts containing premature termination codons (PTCs) in order to prevent translation of unnecessary or aberrant transcripts. Different types of germline mutations in the VHL gene cause the von Hippel-Lindau disease, a dominantly inherited familial cancer syndrome with a marked phenotypic variability and age-dependent penetrance. By generating the Drosophila UAS:Upf1(D45B) line we showed the possible involvement of NMD mechanism in the modulation of the c.172delG frameshift mutation located in the exon 1 of Vhl gene. Further, by Quantitative Real-time PCR (QPCR) we demonstrated that the corresponding c.163delG human mutation is targeted by NMD in human HEK 293 cells. The UAS:Upf1(D45B) line represents a useful system to identify novel substrates of NMD pathway in Drosophila melanogaster. Finally, we suggest the possible role of NMD on the regulation of VHL mutations.
Project description:Illicit use of psychostimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, constitutes a significant public health problem. Whereas neural mechanisms that mediate the effects of these drugs are well-characterized, genetic factors that account for individual variation in susceptibility to substance abuse and addiction remain largely unknown. Drosophila melanogaster can serve as a translational model for studies on substance abuse, since flies have a dopamine transporter that can bind cocaine and methamphetamine, and exposure to these compounds elicits effects similar to those observed in people, suggesting conserved evolutionary mechanisms underlying drug responses. Here, we used the D. melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel to investigate the genetic basis for variation in psychostimulant drug consumption, to determine whether similar or distinct genetic networks underlie variation in consumption of cocaine and methamphetamine, and to assess the extent of sexual dimorphism and effect of genetic context on variation in voluntary drug consumption. Quantification of natural genetic variation in voluntary consumption, preference, and change in consumption and preference over time for cocaine and methamphetamine uncovered significant genetic variation for all traits, including sex-, exposure- and drug-specific genetic variation. Genome wide association analyses identified both shared and drug-specific candidate genes, which could be integrated in genetic interaction networks. We assessed the effects of ubiquitous RNA interference (RNAi) on consumption behaviors for 34 candidate genes: all affected at least one behavior. Finally, we utilized RNAi knockdown in the nervous system to implicate dopaminergic neurons and the mushroom bodies as part of the neural circuitry underlying experience-dependent development of drug preference.