Molecular Physiology

Drosophila as a model to study chronic respiratory diseases

Asthma, COPD and lung cancer are the most important chronic respiratory diseases. They all have very high incidences with several hundreds of million people affected worldwide. All of them are typical life style diseases meaning that genetic predisposition and matching environmental factors have to come together to induce pathogenesis.

Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model, we aim to develop animal models for various aspects of these diseases. Targeted manipulation of the fly's airway epithelium to induce phenotypes that match major hallmarks of asthma, COPD or lung cancer are employed. In addition, the physiological and pathophysiological relevance of susceptibility genes for these diseases are studied. This includes the production and use of humanized flies to establish high-throughput screening systems based on these genetically tailored flies. 

A focus of our research is to unravel the molecular framework that underlies disease development in airway epithelial cells in order to understand disease development and to develop and implement novel intervention strategies.

C.Wagner, K.Isermann, H.Fehrenbach and T.Roeder (2008). Molecular architecture of the fruit 
fly's airway epithelial immune system. BMC Genomics 9:446


Holger Heine, Christina Wagner (Borstel, Germany), Peter König (Lübeck, Germany), Ali Önder Yldirim (Munich, Germany), Amrit Mudher , Hans Michael Haitchi, Donna Davies (Southhampton, UK)