Researchers at the Buck Institute have used RNA interference (RNAi) technology to identify hundreds of “druggable” molecular targets linked to the toxicity associated with the devastating, ultimately fatal disease.
The results from this unprecedented genome-scale screen in a human cell model of HD are published in the November 29, 2012 edition of PLoS Genetics. The work was is a collaboration between Buck Institute faculty members Robert E. Hughes, Ph.D., Sean Mooney, Ph.D., Lisa Ellerby, Ph.D. and Juan Botas, Ph.D. at the Baylor College of Medicine.
HD is a devastating and incurable progressive neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects motor coordination and leads to severe physical and cognitive decline. Currently, there are about 30,000 people in North America diagnosed with HD and another 150,000 people at risk for developing the disease. The disease pathology stems from a mutation in the huntingtin gene (HTT), resulting in the accumulation of a toxic protein leading to neuronal cell death and systemic dysfunction. Buck Scientists screened more than 7,800 genes pre-selected as potential drug targets to identify modifiers of HD toxicity in human cells, using technology that silences specific genes prior to analysis.
Lead author Robert Hughes said that among the diverse range of modifiers identified, this study showed that RRAS, a gene involved in cell motility and neuronal development, is a potent modulator of HD toxicity in multiple HD models. “Our data indicates that the pathogenic effects of the HTT mutation on this pathway can be corrected at multiple intervention points and that pharmacological manipulation of RRAS signaling may confer therapeutic benefit in HD,” Hughes said. Follow up work on the RRAS pathway is now underway in the Hughes lab and in the lab of Buck faculty member Lisa M. Ellerby, PhD.
Hughes said many molecular hits identified in the screening were validated in human cell, mouse cell and fruit fly models of HD – and that all the data from the study will be available to the public. “Our hope is that HD researchers will look at these targets and find modifiers relevant to the areas they already work on,” said Hughes. “Ideally, pharmaceutical companies already working on some these pathways could build on their current knowledge and expertise by focusing their attention on the challenge to develop therapies for HD.”
Citation: “Miller JP, Yates BE, Al-Ramahi I, Berman AE, Sanhueza M, et al. (2012) A Genome-Scale RNA–Interference Screen Identifies RRAS Signaling as a Pathologic Feature of Huntington’s Disease. PLoS Genet 8(11): e1003042. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003042”. Once the paper has been published, it will be accessible at http://www.plosgenetics.org/doi/pgen.1003042.
Kris Rebillot | Newswise Science News
New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego
Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding