Doris E. Kretzschmar, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
  • Associate Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine
  • Molecular and Medical Genetics Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine


We are using Drosophila to study basic mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Currently, we are focusing on two projects. One is the characterization of the swiss cheese mutant, which shows progressive degeneration of the adult nervous system. SWS is the fly homolog of a ´human gene called Neuropathy Target Esterase which plays a role in neurodegeneration induced by pesticides and nerve agents.  Recent results indicated that SWS/NTE interfere with membrane composition thereby damaging neurons.  We are now studying in detail how this leads to neuronal degeneration and cell death.  The other project focuses on the function of Amyloid Precursor Proteins, which are key factors in Alzheimer's Disease.  We are investigating how these proteins are processed , what function different fragments derived from this large precursor protein have, and what other genes influence these processes.  In addition, we have developed a system to study the transport of this protein and its fragments in the living brain using confocal imaging.


  • Ph.D., 1999, Univeristy of Wüerzburg


Selected publications

  • Nash, T.R., Chow, E.S., Law, A.D., Fu S.D., Fuszara E., Biska A., Bebas P., Kretzschmar, D., Giebultowicz, J.M. Daily blue-light exposure shortens lifespan and causes brain neurodegeneration in Drosophila. npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease. 2019 Dec. 5(1), 8
  • Sunderhaus, E.R., Law, A.D., Kretzschmar, D. Disease-Associated PNPLA6 Mutations Maintain Partial Functions When Analyzed in Drosophila. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019 Nov. 13,1207
  • Sunderhaus ER, Law AD, Kretzschmar D. ER responses play a key role in Swiss-Cheese/Neuropathy Target Esterase-associated neurodegeneration. Neurobiology of Disease. 2019 June 130,104520.
  • Rieche F, Carmine-Simmen K, Poeck B, Kretzschmar D, Strauss R. Drosophila Full-Length Amyloid Precursor Protein Is Required for Visual Working Memory and Prevents Age-Related Memory Impairment. Curr Biol. 2018 Mar 5;28(5):817-823.
  • Cassar M, Sunderhaus E, Wentzell JS, Kuntz S, Strauss R, Kretzschmar D. The PKA-C3 catalytic subunit is required in two pairs of interneurons for successful mating of Drosophila. Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 6;8(1):2458.
  • Reduced Expression of Foxp1 as a Contributing Factor in Huntington's Disease. Louis Sam Titus ASC, Yusuff T, Cassar M, Thomas E, Kretzschmar D, D'Mello SR. J Neurosci. 2017 Jul 5;37(27):6575-6587.
  • McFerrin J, Patton BL, Sunderhaus ER, Kretzschmar D. NTE/PNPLA6 is expressed in mature Schwann cells and is required for glial ensheathment of Remak fibers. Glia. 2017 May;65(5):804-816. PMCID:PMC5357176.
  • Ramaker JM, Cargill RS, Swanson TL, Quirindongo H, Cassar M, Kretzschmar D, Copenhaver PF. Amyloid Precursor Proteins Are Dynamically Trafficked and Processed during Neuronal Development.Front Mol Neurosci. 2016 Nov 25;9:130.
  • Sunderhaus E., Kretzschmar D. Mass histology to quantify neurodegeneration in Drosophila. JOVE, 2016 Dec 15.
  • Dutta S, Rieche F, Eckl N, Duch C, Kretzschmar D. Glial expression of Swiss cheese (SWS), the Drosophila orthologue of neuropathy target esterase (NTE), is required for neuronal ensheathment and function. Dis Model Mech. 2016 9(3):283-94. PMID: 26634819


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