“They are two different diseases, but they are related to one gene,” said Dr. Juan Botas, associate professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM. Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of mental retardation. It occurs in one in 4,000 males and one in 6,000 females.
The ways in which the two disorders occur differ. In both, the gene FMR1 contains too many repeats of the tri-nucleotide CGG. Those with fragile X syndrome have more than 200 repeats, causing the person to lack the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) encoded by the gene. Those who develop fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome later in life have a “premutation” set of repeats of CGG totaling between 60 and 200. These individuals make the FMRP protein and do not develop fragile X syndrome. Previously, it was thought that 60-200 repeats had no effect on premutation carrier individuals. Now it appears that it does affect a subset of carriers, although it is unclear how many.
People with fragile X-associated tremors/ataxia syndrome suffer from tremor that becomes more severe over time. They have difficulty with walking and balance. Their disease can progress slowly over years until they have difficulty carrying out the activities of daily life. It is found in the grandfathers of children with fragile X syndrome, and it often begins when people are in the 50s and 60s. Most of those with the disease are men.
Researchers noticed that people with the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome have higher than normal levels of messenger RNA. Messenger RNA or mRNA takes the protein’s blueprint from the DNA in the cell nucleus to the protein-manufacturing ribosome in the cytoplasm (the jelly-like material that fills the cell’s interior).
Studying fruit flies, Botas and his colleagues found two RNA-binding proteins hnRNP A2/B1 and CUGBP1 that are involved in the new disease. RNA-binding proteins control the metabolism of mRNA. However, these RNA-binding proteins tend to bind to CGG repeats. When there are too many CGG repeats, too many molecules of these proteins are bound to the repeats, preventing them from fulfilling their normal function of controlling mRNA metabolism.
When Botas and his colleagues created a fly with too many CGG repeats, the fly developed the neurodegenerative disease. However, when they developed a fly that made more than the normal amount of the RNA-binding proteins, the disease was much less severe.
Kimberlee Barbour | EurekAlert!
Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses
24.04.2017 | Indiana University
Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years
24.04.2017 | University of Oxford
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences