By Natasha Lebert, Jessica Agbeve, Asifa Mossavi
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ginny Morriss
The purpose of this research is to find out whether or not LiCl will reduce seizure symptoms in flies with a para gene knockdown. Certain gene mutations and gene knockdowns in Drosophila melanogaster give rise to symptoms that resemble epilepsy. Previous studies showed that when these flies were given food with LiCl mixed in, their seizure symptoms were greatly reduced, or fully gone. In this study, flies with the knockdown were separated by male and female, and then half of each sex were given LiCl food and the other half were given control/normal food. The same separations were done for the flies without the knockdown as well. After a few days of being on each food, the flies will undergo mechanical shock to induce the seizures. Mechanical shock will be administered via vortexing the flies for ten seconds. The seizures that occur when vortexing stops will then be timed in seconds. After multiple trials with the mechanical shocks are done, RNA will be extracted from the flies for RT-qPCR analysis to test the efficiency of the knockdown. Flies with the knockdown on LiCl food are expected to have lower seizure times than flies with the knockdown on control food. Flies without the knockdown, whether or not they are on LiCl food, should have no seizures after the mechanical shock. The RT-qPCR analysis should show an efficient knockdown of the para gene. This study will add to current research on whether or not lithium could be a trusted anticonvulsant. Epilepsy still has no cure, and not all of the current drugs help those with the condition, so this research would help those in the medical field searching for new drugs, as well as helping those that are suffering from epilepsy.