2024 Student Research Conference:
37th Annual Student Research Conference

Superoxide Dismutase 1 and Cell Death in Familial ALS

Cat Hanses* and Micaela S. Merrill
Dr. Brett A. Berke, Faculty Mentor

Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, genetic neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Mutations of the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) have been implicated in ~20% of cases. SOD1 eliminates reactive oxygen atoms that donate electrons to other proteins, damaging cells. While research into fALS has primarily focused on motoneuron dysfunction directly, recent research has shown that blood brain barrier (BBB) glial dysfunction may cause motoneuron death. The BBB is composed of blood vessel endothelial cells and surrounding glia, which prevents entry of unwanted molecules from the blood into the CNS. We hypothesize that alterations in SOD1 function in glial cells of the Drosophila BBB alters its integrity and contributes to animal death in this model of ALS. Our results suggest that fly lifespan is differentially affected by SOD1 knockdown in glia vs neurons, with a knockdown in glia being more detrimental. 

Keywords: Drosophila, SOD1, cell death, ALS, blood brain barrier, glia


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 405-4
Location: MG 2001
Time: 2:45

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