They said their achievement offers the potential for treatment of the disorder, the most common form of inherited mental retardation and a leading identified genetic cause of autism. There is currently no treatment or therapy for fragile X syndrome, whose symptoms include mental retardation, epilepsy, and abnormal body growth.
Mark Bear and colleagues reported their findings in an article in the December 20, 2007, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.
Fragile X syndrome is known to be caused by loss of the gene for “fragile X mental retardation protein” (FMRP), which is believed to act as a brake on protein synthesis in specific areas of brain circuitry. The authors’ idea was that loss of the “brake” would allow another protein that stimulates this process, called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), to function unchecked.
In their experiments to test this idea, the researchers studied mice that produce many of the characteristic pathologies of fragile X in humans due to a loss of the FMRP gene. The critical test, though, was when they also created double mutant mice that lacked both the FMRP gene and had a 50% reduction in mGluR5. They chose only to reduce the activity of the metabotropic glutamate receptor gene, rather than eliminate it, in order to reflect what might be achieved using drug treatment for fragile X in humans.
Their tests on the double mutant mice revealed that the mGluR5 gene reduction greatly alleviated many abnormalities produced by loss of FMRP. The double mutant mice showed a rescue of abnormalities in brain structure and function, brain protein synthesis, memory, and body growth.
For example, loss of the FMRP gene produces overgrowth of the connections among neurons called dendritic spines. However, the additional 50% reduction in mGluR5 gene produced mice with completely normal spine density.
The double mutants also showed substantial reduction in epileptic seizures caused by lack of FMRP, found the researchers.
They concluded that “it is remarkable that by reducing mGluR5 gene dosage by 50%, we were able to bring multiple, widely varied fragile X phenotypes significantly closer to normal.”
They also concluded that “These findings have major therapeutic implications for fragile X syndrome and autism.”
Cathleen Genova | EurekAlert!
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences