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Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 176802, 6 pages
Review Article

The Fruit Fly Drosophila melanogaster as a Model System to Study Cholesterol Metabolism and Homeostasis

1Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tennoudai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan
2Initiative for the Promotion of Young Scientists' Independent Research, University of Tsukuba, Tennoudai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8577, Japan

Received 15 October 2010; Accepted 4 January 2011

Academic Editor: Patrizia M. Tarugi

Copyright © 2011 Ryusuke Niwa and Yuko S. Niwa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cholesterol has long been recognized for its versatile roles in influencing the biophysical properties of cell membranes and for serving as a precursor of steroid hormones. While many aspects of cholesterol biosynthesis are well understood, little is currently known about the molecular mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism and homeostasis. Recently, genetic approaches in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, have been successfully used for the analysis of molecular mechanisms that regulate cholesterol metabolism and homeostasis. This paper summarizes the recent studies on genes that regulate cholesterol metabolism and homeostasis, including neverland, Niemann Pick type C(NPC) disease genes, and DHR96.