Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Leicester researchers discover a potential molecular defence against Huntington's disease

University of Leicester experts discover glutathione peroxidase activity improves symptoms in models of the neurodegenerative disorder

Leicester geneticists have discovered a potential defence against Huntington's disease – a fatal neurodegenerative disorder which currently has no cure.

The team of University of Leicester researchers identified that glutathione peroxidase activity – a key antioxidant in cells – protects against symptoms of the disease in model organisms.

They hope that the enzyme activity – whose protective ability was initially observed in model organisms such as yeast - can be further developed and eventually used to treat people with the genetically-inherited disease.

The disease affects around 12 people per 100,000.

Their paper, Glutathione peroxidase activity is neuroprotective in models of Huntington's disease, was published in Nature Genetics on 25 August.

A team of experts from the University's Department of Genetics carried out research for more than six years to identify new potential drug targets for the disease.

They used model systems, such as baker's yeast, fruit flies, and cultured mammalian cells to help uncover potential mechanisms underlying disease at the cellular level.

They initially screened a genome-wide collection of yeast genes and found several candidates which protected against Huntington's related symptoms in yeast. They then validated their findings in fruit flies and mammalian cells.

They found that glutathione peroxidase activity is robustly protective in these models of Huntington's disease.

Importantly, there are drug-like compounds available that mimic this activity that have already been tested in human clinical trials for other disorders – which potentially means the approach could be used to treat people with the disease.

The team now aim to further validate the observations regarding glutathione peroxidase activity, in order to understand whether this could have therapeutic relevance for Huntington's.

In addition, they have identified many additional genes that are protective - and aim to further explore these to see if there are any additional therapeutic possibilities suggested by their research.

Dr Flaviano Giorgini, Reader in Neurogenetics of the University's Department of Genetics and senior author of the paper, said: "We are taking advantage of genetic approaches in simple model organisms in order to better understand Huntington's disease, with the aim of uncovering novel ways to treat this devastating disorder.

"It appears that glutathione peroxidase activity is a robustly protective antioxidant approach which may have relevance for Huntington's disease."

Dr Robert Mason, Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, and first author of the study, said: "In addition to glutathione peroxidase, this study has identified many genes that improve Huntington's 'symptoms' in yeast. These genes provide valuable information on the underlying mechanisms leading to Huntington's, and further study will likely uncover additional approaches that could be beneficial in treating this terrible disease."

Dr Giorgini stated: "We are excited by the work because it uncovers a potential new route for therapeutics in Huntington's disease. I am also proud that all of this work has been conducted at the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester."

The study was performed in collaboration with Prof Charalambos Kyriacou, also of the Department of Genetics at Leicester. Massimiliano Casu, Nicola Butler, Dr Carlo Breda, Dr Susanna Campesan, Dr Jannine Clapp, Dr Edward Green and Devyani Dhulkhed also contributed to the research study.

The research was primarily funded by CHDI Foundation and the Huntington's Disease Association.

Dr. Flaviano Giorgini | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>