Scientists Develop Fruit Fly Model of Kidney Cyst Formation; May Be Applicable to Study of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

According to PKD International, 12.5 million people worldwide are affected by polycystic kidney disease (PKD). There is no known cure. But that may one day change, thanks in part to new research by a Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) biology researcher. In a study, published online on April 13, 2017 in PLOS Genetics, Chiara Gamberi, PhD, and her coauthors developed an innovative fruit-fly-based model of the types of harmful cysts that can form on kidneys. The model has enormous potential for assisting the study of how cells proliferate in PKD and cancer. But what do fruit flies have to do with it? "The human and fly genomes show a surprising level of similarity. In fact, gene relationships, or genetic pathways, are virtually identical between human beings and fruit flies," explains Dr. Gamberi, who is affiliate assistant professor of biology in Concordia's Faculty of Arts and Science. "Most human organs have fly counterparts. That's a great advantage we can leverage to study the functions of disease-associated genes, and also to identify possible methods of combating those diseases." The PLOS Genetics article is titled “Bicaudal C Mutation Causes myc and TOR Pathway Up-Regulation and Polycystic Kidney Disease-Like Phenotypes in Drosophila.”
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