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Drosophila Model for Screening Novel Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs)

The current invention presents a novel in vivo fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) model to study human epilepsy. This novel fly model expresses a mutated form of a human gene associated with epilepsy, so it can be used as a drug screening tool to identify therapeutic candidates and genetic modifiers for forms of epilepsy. This technology will promote a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying how mutations in potassium channels in the brain can cause different forms of epilepsy.

Epilepsy is mostly thought to be caused by abnormal activity in the brain, such as excitatory neurons firing at irregular times, firing constantly, or inhibitory neurons not firing at all. Over their lifetime, 1% of Americans will develop some form of epilepsy with children and elderly popluations being the most susceptible. Neuron firing is largely controlled by sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) channels that regulate membrane potential changes. This University of Missouri technology was developed to overcome the limitations of mouse and human cell culture models by incorporating human genes related to epilepsy to better understand this disease.

  • A drug screening tool to help accelerate the epilepsy drug discovery process

  • A novel fly model expressing a human epilepsy-associated gene, rather than fly homolog epilepsy genes used in competing models
  • Shorter life cycle than other model organisms; accelerated drug screening cycle
  • Easier genetic manipulation; screen drug candidates for multiple targets
  • Less expensive than mouse and cell line models
  • Strong conservation of epilepsy genes and signaling pathways between Drosophila and humans

Additional Details


University of Missouri - Columbia

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