Cellular and molecular mechanisms of axonal resilience

The vast majority of human neurodegenerative diseases are thought to be sporadic. In this project, we model early degenerative events in Drosophila adult photoreceptor cells, in which mild constant light stimulation for several days overcame the intrinsic resilience of R7 photoreceptors and led to progressive and importantly sporadic axonal degeneration in the absence of cell death. We aim at dissecting the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the early events of axonal degeneration, allowing for a better understanding of how neurons cope with stress and lose their resilience capacities.

Dr. Melisandé Richard

Ph.D. student:
Karolína Doubková

Master student:
Fiorella Gomez



  • Nitta, Y., Kawai, H., Maki, R., Osaka, J., Hakeda-Suzuki, S., Nagai, Y., Doubková, K., Uehara, T., Watanabe, K., Kosaki, K., Suzuki, T., Tavosanis, G., Sugie, A., 2023. Direct evaluation of neuroaxonal degeneration with the causative genes of neurodegenerative diseases in Drosophila using the automated axon quantification system, MeDUsA. Hum. Mol. Genet. 32,
    1524–1538. https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac307.

  • Richard, M., Doubková, K., Nitta, Y., Kawai, H., Sugie, A., Tavosanis, G., 2022. A quantitative model of sporadic axonal degeneration in the drosophila visual system. J. Neurosci. 42,
    4937–4952. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2115-21.2022.

  • Sugie, A., Möhl, C., Hakeda-Suzuki, S., Matsui, H., Suzuki, T., Tavosanis, G., 2017. Analyzing Synaptic Modulation of Drosophila melanogaster Photoreceptors after Exposure to Prolonged Light.
    J. Vis. Exp. https://doi.org/10.3791/55176.

  • Sugie, A., Hakeda-Suzuki, S., Suzuki, E., Silies, M., Shimozono, M., Möhl, C., Suzuki, T., Tavosanis, G., 2015. Molecular Remodeling of the Presynaptic Active Zone of Drosophila Photoreceptors via Activity-Dependent Feedback. Neuron
    86, 711–725. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.046.