The actin-bundling protein fascin is involved in tumour invasion and metastasis, whereas fascin deficiency is implicated in some developmental brain disorders. Because this association with diverse clinical problems makes the fascin pathway a desirable drug target, Kraft et al. devised an assay for fascin function that is based on the characteristic ‘filagree’ phenotype of cultured fascindeficient mutant Drosophila neurons. When used to screen 1040 known compounds, the assay identified 34 fascin-pathway blockers (potential anti-metastasic agents) and 48 fascin-pathway enhancers (potential cognition-enhancing agents). The screen also revealed neurotoxic effects of other drugs. Notably, statins induced a unique morphological disruption of the cultured neurons. These results suggest that this cell-based fascin bioassay should be useful for drug discovery and identifies primary cultures of Drosophila neurons as a promising neurotoxicity screening platform. Page 217
- Written by Jane Bradbury. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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