Drug Screening Service for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting millions of people across the world. As a progressive neurological disorder, PD is characterized by the extensive accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) protein in cells and the loss of dopaminergic neurons (DNs) in the substantia nigra. The disease not only shows motor impairments (including bradykinesia, impaired balance, rigidity, and the presence of resting tremors) but also exhibits non-motor symptoms (such as depression, apathy, and anxiety). At present, the pathogenesis and causes of PD are still not well understood and the available neuroprotective treatments, such as effective inhibitory drugs for PD, are yet to be discovered. Therefore, accurate animal models of PD are required to elucidate pathological mechanisms and identify different therapeutic compounds. As a professional C. elegans model service provider, CD BioSciences offers a biologically simple but pathologically relevant disease model based on C. elegans combing with advanced screening technologies to help customers explore the underlying mechanisms that result in PD and its progression and identify effective therapeutic targets.

The toxic process of α-syn aggregation in a single neuron of human. The toxic process of α-syn aggregation in a single neuron of human. (Youssef K., et al, 2019)

Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for PD studies

It is widely known that C. elegans is a reliable invertebrate model organism for many biological studies. Apart from multiple experimental advantages, such as a simple and thoroughly mapped system of 302 neurons, its short lifespan, transparent body, fast reproduction and ease of maintenance, the worms are conserved with the basic neuronal functions, having 56 cholinergic, 19 GABAnergic, 4 serotonergic and 8 DNs that produce different neurotransmitters. In neurobiology studies, C. elegans have made significant contributions to elucidate the molecular mechanisms due to their optical transparency permitting direct imaging of neurons and protein expression using fluorescent microscopy. Previously, researchers have exploited the nematodes utilizing kinds of experimental techniques to understand the mechanisms behind PD from different levels. Genetic analysis demonstrates that there are six orthologs of established genes associated with familial PD between C. elegans and humans. The genes include DJ-1, PINK1, Parkin, UCHL-1, LRRK2, ARK 9 and NURR1. In addition, a variety of transgenic C. elegans strains through genetically overexpressing human wild type (WT) or A53T α-syn in either DNs or all neurons have been employed for PD research. The worm models have been widely used to investigate the effect of different potential PD compounds.

Service offerings

  • The transgenic worms for screening potential PD compounds

The exploitation of C. elegans in PD research has emerged through genetically developing a variety of transgenic C. elegans strains. Here we offer several commonly used transgenic strains to develop neuronal and behavioral assays and drug screening. The transgenic strains are listed in the table below.

Commonly used C. elegans strains for screening potential PD compounds
Strain Genotype Description
BY273 baEx18[dat-1p::GFP+dat-1p::WT α-syn] α-syn GFP expression in the DNs
UA18 baEx18[dat-1p::GFP+dat-1p:: α-syn] α-syn GFP expression in the DNs
UA31 baEx31 [dat-1p::GFP+dat-1p:: α-syn] α-syn GFP expression in the DNs
UA44 baIn11 [dat-1p::GFP+dat-1p:: α-syn] α-syn GFP expression in the DNs
UA196 sid-1(pk3321) dat-1p:: α-syn, dat-1p::GFP;dat-1p::sid1, Pmyo2::mCherry α-syn, GFP, and SID-1 expression in the dopaminergic neurons
  • Automatic screening of potential PD compounds

We provide several transgenic worm strains that exhibit multiple PD-related phenotypes and use microfluidic devices to help customers screen potential PD compounds. In contrast with conventional C. elegans-based assays (characterized by time-consuming, equipment-intensive, and low in throughput), the microfluidic devices present various superiorities, including time efficiency, simplicity, automation of assays, and experimental user-friendliness. The procedure of screening PD targets is continuously regulated and updated to provide our customers with more reliable services.

C. elegans is a model organisms that not only presents the important cellular and neuronal activities, but also offers the phenotypic screening of behaviors that provide a more comprehensive understanding of PD, a neurological movement disorder. CD BioSciences is a professional provider of C. elegans model services. We are dedicated to achieving customers' research goals relying on skillful technicians and advanced equipment. Please feel free to contact us for more details of our service. We are looking forward to cooperating with you!


  1. Youssef K., et al. (2019). "Studying Parkinson's disease using Caenorhabditis elegans models in microfluidic devices." Integr Biol (Camb). 11(5):186-207.

* For research use only.

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