Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fruit fly steps in to fight human disease

24.06.2009
"By putting mutant genes from human patients into fruit flies, we've created the first ever fly model for this kind of neuromuscular disease," says Albena Jordanova.

"Now we have the opportunity to unravel the molecular mechanism behind Charcot-Marie-Tooth, as well as to start looking for substances with therapeutic value."

The breakthrough is the result of collaboration between VIB researchers working at the University of Antwerp and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Charcot-Marie-Tooth is a hereditary disorder of the peripheral nervous system that affects 1 in 2,500 people worldwide. Patients suffer from progressive motor impairment, muscle wasting and weakness, sensory loss, and foot deformities. Affecting children and adults, the disease often starts with minor symptoms, gradually worsening over time. Presently CMT cannot be cured or prevented.

New chapter for an old gene

In previous research Albena Jordanova and Vincent Timmerman (VIB, University of Antwerp) discovered that CMT patients in families in Belgium, Bulgaria and the US showed three specific changes in one of the most ubiquitous genes in life: the YARS gene. YARS is responsible for the production of one of the oldest enzymes in the history of life (tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase), which is vital for the production of proteins. This was an entirely unexpected breakthrough. YARS had been considered a closed chapter in the biology textbooks. No one had suspected the relationship with specific variants of CMT until the revelation by Jordanova and her colleagues. These VIB findings open up an entirely new field of research.

Fruit flies with CMT symptoms

The VIB researchers at the University of Antwerp, in collaboration with Patrick Callaerts (VIB, K.U.Leuven) introduced four variants of the YARS gene into fruit flies. The normal variant, showed no difference in ordinary fruit flies. However, fruit flies with the mutant YARS genes, showed clear symptoms of CMT such as a reduced capacity to move, decreased functioning of the nerve cells and degeneration of the nerve endings.

Joris Gansemans | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>