Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify potential therapeutic target for Huntington’s disease

07.04.2005


Researchers studying yeast cells have identified a metabolic enzyme as a potential therapeutic target for treating Huntington’s disease, a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder for which there is currently no effective treatment. The group, whose results appear in the May issue of Nature Genetics, includes researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. The paper was published online in advance at the journal’s Web site, http://www.nature.com/ng/index.html.



The group performed a genetic experiment known as a loss-of-function suppressor screen, which searches for genes that, when switched off, reduce the toxic effects of the mutant protein associated with Huntington’s. One of the genes they identified encodes an enzyme, called KMO, that has been previously implicated in the disease. The enzyme functions in a metabolic pathway that is activated at early stages of the disease in people with Huntington’s, as well as in animal models of the disease.

"The nice thing about this finding is that there is a chemical compound available that inhibits KMO activity," said Dr. Paul Muchowski, assistant professor of pharmacology at the UW, who led the study. "We’re in the midst of testing that compound in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease."


Further support for KMO as a therapeutic target for Huntington’s disease comes from a recent study led by Dr. Aleksey G. Kazantsev of Harvard Medical School. In this study, researchers used cell-based experiments to screen about 20,000 chemical compounds, and identified one that suppresses neurodegeneration in a fly model of the disease. That compound has a very similar chemical structure as the drug that inhibits the target identified by Muchowski’s group. The results appeared in the Jan. 18, 2005, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to finding a potential drug target for future Huntington’s treatment, the study by Muchowski and his colleagues could take research on the disease in a new direction: towards microglial cells, which are immune cells in the brain. Previous research has focused exclusively on neuronal cells, but the enzyme KMO is found predominantly in microglial cells. Since inhibiting KMO activity has a direct effect on toxicity of the mutant protein associated with Huntington’s, that could mean microgial cells are home to an important step in progression of the disease.

Huntington’s affects an estimated 30,000 people in the United States. It is characterized by loss of motor control and cognitive functions, as well as by depression or other psychiatric problems.

Justin Reedy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein 'spy' gains new abilities
28.04.2017 | Rice University

nachricht How Plants Form Their Sugar Transport Routes
28.04.2017 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How Plants Form Their Sugar Transport Routes

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Protein 'spy' gains new abilities

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers unravel the social network of immune cells

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>