Neurodegenerative disorders affect millions of people in the world every year. One widely studied neurodegenerative disorder is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be characterized by neurofibrillary tangles, which are a result of hyperphosphorylation of tau protein in a neuron. Many factors can contribute to AD, and previous literature suggests that proper sleep may play an important role in preventing the onset of AD. Finding the potential connection between sleep and AD is important to preventing and identifying neurodegenerative diseases. To investigate this potential link further, transgenic Drosophila were manipulated to carry human tau protein using the UAS Gal4 system. The Drosophila were then either sleep deprived for three hours every night five nights using a shaking machine or allowed to sleep normally with no sleep deprivation. Tau protein expression was quantified after sleep deprivation using western blotting techniques. Activity monitors were used to track the movements of the transgenic flies and normal flies to confirm sleep deprivation and track activity. The outcome of the study showed the shaker method properly sleep deprived the flies, that the tau transgenic flies slept less than the control flies, and the study did not completely confirm that transgenic flies that were sleep deprived contained more tau protein than transgenic flies that were not sleep deprived. However, this study provides a strong basis to further investigate the link between AD and sleep in Drosophila and other model organisms.


Kelly, Seth




Biology | Developmental Neuroscience | Genetics | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Other Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Alzheimer's disease, neurodgeneration, Drosophila, western blots, sleep, sleep deprivation, Drosophila Activity Monitors

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2021 Kaitlyn B. Evans