Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Scientists Propose a Molecular Explanation for Degenerative Disease

Published: Monday, August 19, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, August 19, 2013
Bookmark and Share
An international collaboration has shed new light on the origins and molecular causes of age related degenerative conditions including Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The new perspective provided by this work may lead the way to new treatments and early diagnoses.

The article which has just been published in the leading peer reviewed, international journal Cell, offers new opportunities for early diagnosis of age related degenerative diseases before symptoms appear, including through the identification of disease causing genes. It also suggests specific strategies for developing therapies which might have both preventative and therapeutic benefits for this class of degenerative disease.

Commenting on the significance of the findings co-lead author Professor Mani Ramaswami, Professor of Neurogenetics at the School of Genetics and Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin said: “Degenerative diseases, such as MND, are a poorly understood and largely untreatable set of life limiting diseases which can leave people unable to do the everyday things that the rest of us, particularly the young, take for granted. These age-associated diseases have far-reaching socioeconomic impacts. If you can predict the disease you may be in a position to slow down its onset and progression through therapeutic interventions. With these types of diseases this is significantly more effective than trying to treat the condition once symptoms have appeared. The potential for early diagnosis and delaying the onset of motor or cognitive decline by perhaps ten years is of potentially profound importance in an ageing society.”

There are nearly 120,000 cases of MND diagnosed worldwide each year with about 300 people in Ireland living with the disease at any one time.

The research just published proposes that the normal biology of mRNA regulation in neurones, in which RNA is generally silenced and only activated in the correct place and time, makes it susceptible to both age-related decline and disturbance by genetic mutation. Altered RNA regulation (ribostasis), therefore, may be a frequent causative factor in degenerative disease.  While normal RNA regulation involves regulated and reversible assembly of RNA-protein particles, both increased cellular age and mutation push the process towards hyperassembly, which leads to altered pools of RNA or RNA regulatory proteins in neurones that contribute to their eventual death.

Co-authors of the publication, Professors Ramaswami, Taylor (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis) and Parker (University of Colorado)* have based their model on a synthesis of findings from their collaborations and recent work by their individual research groups.

Research on neuronal RNA regulation in Professor Ramaswami's lab is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and benefits from collaborations with the National Centre for Biological Sciences Bangalore.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Scientists Discover Genetic Basis for Memory Formation with Implications for Neurological Diseases
Two genes linked to simple memory formation also regulate appropriate nerve responses that are lacking in related disease sufferers.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Genetic Mutation Could Increase Understanding of ADHD
Absence of normal gene that expresses a protein involved in nerve cell communication results in seizures and hyperactivity.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
International Research Project Identifies a New Genetic Mutation that Helps Explain the Development of Eczema
Scientists have identified a new genetic mutation linked to the development of a type of eczema known as atopic dermatitis (AD).
Monday, November 04, 2013
New Genetic Mutation Helps Explain Development of Eczema
Researchers found that a mutation in the gene Matt/Tmem79 led to the development of spontaneous dermatitis in mice.
Monday, November 04, 2013
Scientific News
Researchers Develop Classification Model for Cancers Caused by KRAS
Most frequently mutated cancer gene help oncologists choose more effective cancer therapies.
Chromosomal Chaos
Penn study forms basis for future precision medicine approaches for Sezary syndrome
Shaking Up the Foundations of Epigenetics
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the University of Barcelona (UB) published a study that challenges some of the current beliefs about epigenetics.
Genetic Defences of Bacteria Don’t Aid Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic responses to the stresses caused by antibiotics don’t help bacteria to evolve a resistance to the medications, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
Tolerant Immune System Increases Cancer Risk
Researchers have found that individuals with high immunoCRIT ratios may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
Developing a Gel that Mimics Human Breast for Cancer Research
Scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham have been funded to develop a gel that will match many of the biological structures of human breast tissue, to advance cancer research and reduce animal testing.
Lung Repair and Regeneration Gene Discovered
New role for hedgehog gene offers better understanding of lung disease.
3 Ways Viruses Have Changed Science for the Better
Viruses are really good at what they do, and we’ve been able to harness their skills to learn about – and potentially improve – human health in several ways.
Mixed Up Cell Transportation Key Piece of ALS and Dementia Puzzle
Researchers from the University of Toronto are one step closer to solving this incredibly complex puzzle, offering hope for treatment.
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos