C. elegans as a genetic model system to identify Parkinson's disease- associated therapeutic targets

Julia Vistbakka, Natalia VanDuyn, Garry Wong, Richard Nass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-964
Number of pages8
JournalCNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012



  • Dopamine
  • Nematode
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology

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