Results from Model-based functional genomics research provides new insight on the pathogenetic mechanism which causes diseases such as ALS
Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG and a coalition of international research organizations announced today the publication in Science of research describing a fundamental discovery about the genetic and molecular basis for Motor Neuron Disease (MND), which includes Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The research explains a key pathogenetic mechanism of motor neuron degeneration, potentially opening new therapeutic avenues for treating motor neuron diseases including ALS, also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease, the third most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimers and Parkinsons. The research was conducted by Ingenium; University College London; the Queen Mary, University of London; UK Cancer Research; Munich Technical University; and the German National Research Center for Environment and Health. The UK work to find the gene mutation in the mouse was funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Todays Science publication explains the mechanism for how widely-expressed genes can cause selective death of motor neurons, resulting in MND. By identifying two specific mutations in the same gene, the combined research group has produced a precise mammalian model of MND and described the pathogenetic link between specific gene mutations and selective, progressive degeneration of motor neurons. The research groups initially began their research with two distinct mouse models of late-onset MND and traced the genetic cause of the symptoms to specific point mutations in one gene, Dnchc1. Based on that discovery, the combined research team defined that the mutations in the Dnchc1 gene impaired axonal transport in the nerve cell, which specifically caused cell-death in motor neurons without affecting other cell types. This type of selective motor neuron degeneration is clinically similar on a cellular and organismal level to the human disease state seen in ALS and other motor neuron diseases.
Gretchen Schweitzer | EurekAlert!
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