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C. elegans as a Genetic Model System to Identify Parkinson's Disease- Associated Therapeutic Targets

[ Vol. 11 , Issue. 8 ]


Julia Vistbakka, Natalia VanDuyn, Garry Wong and Richard Nass   Pages 957 - 964 ( 8 )


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms and the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons. The etiology of idiopathic PD is likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Despite findings from mammalian studies that have provided significant insight into the disorder, the molecular mechanisms underlying its pathophysiology are still poorly understood. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a powerful system for genetic analysis. Considering C. elegans short lifespan, fully sequenced genome, high genetic and neurobiochemical conservation with humans, as well as the availability of facile genetic tools, the nematode represents a highly efficient and effective model system to explore the molecular basis of PD. In this review we describe the utility of C. elegans for PD research, and the opportunity the model system presents to identify therapeutic targets.


Nematode, dopamine, Parkinson’s disease, neurodegeneration, neuroprotection, dopaminergic neurons, mammalian studies, pathophysiology, Caenorhabditis, therapeutic targets.


Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Dr., MS 549, USA.

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