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Study of neuronal networks and mechanisms implicated in locomotor reactivity and Parkinson's disease pathogenesis in the Drosophila model

Abstract : Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative motor disorder, characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons from the substantia nigra and the presence of cytoplasmic inclusions composed mainly of α-synuclein (α-syn), called Lewy bodies. The objectives of my thesis work were to characterize a PD model developed in Drosophila in order to understand how the accumulation of α-syn in DA neurons can progressively disturb locomotion and to search for new neuroprotective proteins. We first identified brain networks involved in modulating locomotor reactivity in Drosophila, which include subsets of DA neurons associated with the mushroom bodies. We then obtained evidence that the expression of α-syn in DA neurons disrupts mitochondrial dynamics both in these neurons themselves and, through a non-cell-autonomous process, in their cholinergic target neurons of the mushroom bodies. Finally, we show that the Argonaute Piwi protein is induced by oxidative stress and has a neuroprotective effect in a sporadic PD model in Drosophila. Our evidence suggests that Piwi could delay neuronal aging and PD progression by reducing deleterious transcription of transposable elements. Overall, these studies highlight pathological and neuroprotective mechanisms that may constitute novel targets for the therapeutic treatment of PD.
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Jun Sun. Study of neuronal networks and mechanisms implicated in locomotor reactivity and Parkinson's disease pathogenesis in the Drosophila model. Neurobiology. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS434⟩. ⟨tel-02944043⟩

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