Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Make Important Step Toward Stopping Plaque-Like Formations in Huntington’s Disease

25.05.2010
Research published in the journal GENETICS identifies gene candidates likely to be responsible for plaque-like formations that lead to neurological decline

They might not be known for their big brains, but fruit flies are helping to make scientists and doctors smarter about what causes Huntington’s disease and how to treat it. New research, published in the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org) describes a laboratory test that allows scientists to evaluate large numbers of fruit fly genes for a possible role in the formation of plaque-like protein aggregates within cells. Those genes often have counterparts in humans, which might then be manipulated to stop or slow the formation of plaque-like protein aggregates, the hallmark of Huntington’s and several other neurodegenerative diseases.

“Aggregate formations are closely linked to aging and brain diseases,” said Sheng Zhang, Ph.D, a researcher involved in the work from the Research Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “We hope our study will not only help to uncover how the formation of aggregates is regulated in a cell, but also help find good drug-development targets. Then, we can find ways to slow down plaque formations during aging and prevent and treat aggregates-related brain diseases, which are a pressing challenge to a modern society that is enjoying a longer life expectancy.”

To make this advance, scientists examined every known gene in the fruit fly genome and identified a small group of genes (more than 70 percent of which have human counterparts) that likely play important roles in regulating the formation of plaque-like protein aggregates within cells. They then expressed the Huntington’s disease protein in the fruit fly and found that it caused plaque-like protein aggregates in different fly tissues, including the brain and in cultured cells. The plaque-like protein aggregates were similar in appearance and biochemical properties to those found in tissues of people with Huntington’s disease. The scientists employed two methods to survey a large number of genes: automated microscopy for imaging the plaque-like protein aggregates in the cells at a high-magnification level, and a computer-assisted method to quantify information on the aggregates in each tested sample. By integrating these methods, researchers were able to quickly examine all the approximately 14,000 fruit fly genes and identify the ones that are important for regulating the formation of aggregates by the mutant Huntington protein.

“The genetic overlap between humans and fruit flies continues to be a treasure trove for scientific discoveries,” said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of GENETICS. “One hundred years ago, no one would have ever thought that research on a fly’s brain could lead to medicines for human brains, but this research is a perfect example of this possibility.”

Since 1916, GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org) has covered high quality, original research on a range of topics bearing on inheritance, including population and evolutionary genetics, complex traits, developmental and behavioral genetics, cellular genetics, gene expression, genome integrity and transmission, and genome and systems biology. GENETICS, the peer-reviewed, peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America is one of the world's most cited journals in genetics and heredity.

Tracey DePellegrin Connelly | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cmu.edu
http://www.genetics.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>