The Gene Network Surrounding Drosophila's LRP Homolog
Understanding the functions of genes related to disease is an important step towards identifying new drug targets, assessing their likelihood of a new drug's success, and augmenting the effectiveness of existing drugs. Through a knowledge of genes and their network of interactions, one can obtain clues to new drug targets as well as potential interactions that might result in side effects. One of the genes involved in Alzheimer's disease, low-density lipoprotein-related protein (LRP), is present in the fruit fly Drosophila, and there are fly strains available that carry mutant forms of the gene. Dr. Greenspan has developed a method of testing systematically for interactions between Drosophila's version of LRP and its other genes. Dr. Greenspan's research is designed to determine the network of LRP's relationships with other genes from the large number of existing mutants and genetic strains in the fruit fly. Knowing more about the normal function of these genes could create a new strategy for identifying new and potentially more effective drug targets.