Effectors of alcohol-induced cell killing in Drosophila

P. Chen, X. Tu, F. Akdemir, S. K. Chew, A. Rothenfluh, J. M. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Heavy alcohol consumption provokes an array of degenerative pathologies but the signals that couple alcohol exposure to regulated forms of cell death are poorly understood. Using Drosophila as a model, we genetically establish that the severity of ethanol challenge dictates the type of death that occurs. In contrast to responses seen under acute exposure, cytotoxic responses to milder challenges required gene encoding components of the apoptosome, Dronc and Dark. We conducted a genome-wide RNAi screen to capture targets that specifically mediate ethanol-induced cell death. One effector, Drat, encodes a novel protein that contains an ADH domain but lacks essential residues in the catalytic site. In cultured cells and neurons in vivo, depletion of Drat conferred protection from alcohol-induced apoptosis. Adults mutated for Drat showed both improved survival and enhanced propensities toward sedation after alcohol challenge. Together, these findings highlight novel effectors that support regulated cell death incited by alcohol stress in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1655-1663
Number of pages9
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Drosophila
  • alcohol
  • apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effectors of alcohol-induced cell killing in Drosophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this