JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Assessing Basal and Acute Autophagic Responses in the Adult Drosophila Nervous System: The Impact of Gender, Genetics and Diet on Endogenous Pathway Profiles.

The autophagy pathway is critical for the long-term homeostasis of cells and adult organisms and is often activated during periods of stress. Reduced pathway efficacy plays a central role in several progressive neurological disorders that are associated with the accumulation of cytotoxic peptides and protein aggregates. Previous studies have shown that genetic and transgenic alterations to the autophagy pathway impacts longevity and neural aggregate profiles of adult Drosophila. In this study, we have identified methods to measure the acute in vivo induction of the autophagy pathway in the adult fly CNS. Our findings indicate that the genotype, age, and gender of adult flies can influence pathway responses. Further, we demonstrate that middle-aged male flies exposed to intermittent fasting (IF) had improved neuronal autophagic profiles. IF-treated flies also had lower neural aggregate profiles, maintained more youthful behaviors and longer lifespans, when compared to ad libitum controls. In summary, we present methodology to detect dynamic in vivo changes that occur to the autophagic profiles in the adult Drosophila CNS and that a novel IF-treatment protocol improves pathway response in the aging nervous system.

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