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FARAFARA Cure FA

 

Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.

 


 

Dynamics, stability and iron-binding activity of frataxin clinical mutants

Friedreich's ataxia results from a deficiency in the mitochondrial protein frataxin, which carries single point mutations in some patients. In the present study, we analysed the consequences of different disease-related mutations in vitro on the stability and dynamics of human frataxin. Two of the mutations, G130V and D122Y, were investigated for the first time. Analysis by CD spectroscopy demonstrated a substantial decrease in the thermodynamic stability of the variants during chemical and thermal unfolding (wild-type > W155R > I154F > D122Y > G130V), which was reversible in all cases. Protein dynamics was studied in detail and revealed that the mutants have distinct propensities towards aggregation. It was observed that the mutants have increased correlation times and different relative ratios between soluble and insoluble/aggregated protein. NMR showed that the clinical mutants retained a compact and relatively rigid globular core despite their decreased stabilities.

Read More: Dynamics, stability and iron-binding activity of frataxin clinical mutants

Speech perception ability in individuals with Friedreich ataxia

The aim of this study was to investigate auditory pathway function and speech perception ability in individuals with Friedreich ataxia (FRDA). Ten subjects confirmed by genetic testing as being homozygous for a GAA expansion in intron 1 of the FXN gene were included. While each of the subjects demonstrated normal, or near normal sound detection, 3 of the 10 showed electrophysiological evidence of auditory pathway disorder [presenting with the auditory neuropathy/dyssynchrony (AN/AD) result pattern], and 9 of the 10 showed abnormal speech understanding when tested with levels of background noise typical of everyday listening conditions.

Read More: Speech perception ability in individuals with Friedreich ataxia

A cytosolic iron chaperone that delivers iron to ferritin

Ferritins are the main iron storage proteins found in animals, plants, and bacteria. The capacity to store iron in ferritin is essential for life in mammals, but the mechanism by which cytosolic iron is delivered to ferritin is unknown. Human ferritins expressed in yeast contain little iron. Human poly (rC)-binding protein 1 (PCBP1) increased the amount of iron loaded into ferritin when expressed in yeast. PCBP1 bound to ferritin in vivo and bound iron and facilitated iron loading into ferritin in vitro. Depletion of PCBP1 in human cells inhibited ferritin iron loading and increased cytosolic iron pools. Thus, PCBP1 can function as a cytosolic iron chaperone in the delivery of iron to ferritin.

Read More: A cytosolic iron chaperone that delivers iron to ferritin

Lateral-flow immunoassay for the frataxin protein in Friedreich's ataxia patients and carriers

Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by reduction in levels of the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Currently there are no simple, reliable methods to accurately measure the concentrations of frataxin protein. We designed a lateral-flow immunoassay that quantifies frataxin protein levels in a variety of sample materials. Using recombinant frataxin we evaluated the accuracy and reproducibility of the assay. The assay measured recombinant human frataxin concentrations between 40 and 4000 pg/test or approximately 0.1 – 10 nM of sample. The intra and inter-assay error was < 10% throughout the working range. To evaluate clinical utility of the assay we used genetically defined lymphoblastoid cells derived from FA patients, FA carriers and controls.

Read More: Lateral-flow immunoassay for the frataxin protein in Friedreich's ataxia patients and carriers

Novel, complex interruptions of the GAA repeat in small, expanded alleles of two affected siblings with late-onset Friedreich ataxia

Friedreich ataxia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder associated with expanded GAA repeats in intron 1 of the FRDA gene. Two siblings presented with a mild form of FA at >60 years of age. Both had a large expansion (>600 repeats) and a small expansion (120 repeats) by long-range PCR. Sequence analysis of the small allele revealed multiple, complex interruptions in the GAA repeat. These 2 patients presented later than predicted from their allele size alone, when compared with a large cohort of FA patients.

Read More: Novel, complex interruptions of the GAA repeat in small, expanded alleles of two affected siblings ...

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