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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.

 


 

The effects of frataxin silencing in HeLa cells are rescued by the expression of human mitochondrial ferritin

Frataxin is a ubiquitous mitochondrial iron-binding protein involved in the biosynthesis of Fe/S clusters and heme. Its deficiency causes Friedreich's ataxia, a severe neurodegenerative disease. Mitochondrial ferritin is another major iron-binding protein, abundant in the testis and in sideroblasts from patients with sideroblastic anemia. We previously showed that its expression rescued the defects caused by frataxin deficiency in the yeast. To verify if this occurs also in mammals, we silenced frataxin in HeLa cells.

Read More: The effects of frataxin silencing in HeLa cells are rescued by the expression of human mitochondrial ferritin

Repair of DNA double-strand breaks within the (GAA•TTC)n sequence results in frequent deletion of the triplet-repeat sequence

Friedreich ataxia is caused by an expanded (GAA*TTC)n sequence, which is unstable during intergenerational transmission and in most patient tissues, where it frequently undergoes large deletions. We investigated the effect of DSB repair on instability of the (GAA*TTC)n sequence. Linear plasmids were transformed into Escherichia coli so that each colony represented an individual DSB repair event. Repair of a DSB within the repeat resulted in a dramatic increase in deletions compared with circular templates, but DSB repair outside the repeat tract did not affect instability. Repair-mediated deletions were independent of the orientation and length of the repeat, the location of the break within the repeat or the RecA status of the strain. Repair at the center of the repeat resulted in deletion of approximately half of the repeat tract, and repair at an off-center location produced deletions that were equivalent in length to the shorter of the two repeats flanking the DSB.

Read More: Repair of DNA double-strand breaks...

Phosphorus-31 two-dimensional chemical shift imaging in the myocardium of patients with late onset of Friedreich ataxia

PURPOSE:
Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is characterized by GAA expansions in the intron 1 of the frataxin gene correlating with disease onset and progression as well as cardiac affection. Accordingly, FRDA patients with early disease onset show a clear impairment of mitochondrial function in the myocardium. The purpose of this study was to investigate cardiac function and high-energy phosphate metabolism in FRDA patients with late disease onset.

PROCEDURES:
Using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner, cardiac phosphorus-31 two-dimensional chemical shift imaging was performed in ten patients (seven male, three female) with a late onset of FRDA and in 35 healthy, male controls. Ejection faction (EF) and interventricular septum thickness (IST) were determined by echocardiography.

Read More: Phosphorus-31 two-dimensional chemical shift imaging in the myocardium of patients with late onset of Friedreich ataxia

Overexpression of frataxin in the mitochondria increases resistance to oxidative stress and extends lifespan in Drosophila

In Friedreich's ataxia, reduction of the mitochondria protein frataxin results in the accumulation of iron and reactive oxygen species, which leads to oxidative damage, neurodegeneration and a diminished lifespan. Recent studies propose that frataxin might play a role in the antioxidative process. Here we show that overexpression of Drosophila frataxin in the mitochondria of female transgenic animals increases antioxidant capability, resistance to oxidative stress insults, and longevity. This suggests that Drosophila frataxin may function to protect the mitochondria from oxidative stresses and the ensuing cellular damage.

Read More: Overexpression of frataxin in the mitochondria increases resistance to oxidative stress and extends lifespan in Drosophila

Drug Insight: antioxidant therapy in inherited ataxias

The inherited ataxias are a large, heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders caused by a variety of gene mutations, the effects of which are exerted through different pathogenic mechanisms. Despite this diversity, oxidative stress seems to be a common factor in the pathogenesis of these disorders, indicating that antioxidants might be potential therapeutics for these currently incurable conditions. Some inherited ataxias, such as ataxia with vitamin E deficiency, are directly caused by defects in small-molecule antioxidants and might be treated by supplying the defective molecule. In most ataxias, however, oxidative stress has more-complex disease-specific causes and consequences, which must be better understood to enable effective treatments to be developed. Results from studies in cellular and animal models need to be brought to the clinic through rigorous trials. The rarity of each of these diseases can, however, make trial design and execution a very difficult task.

Read More: Drug Insight: antioxidant therapy in inherited ataxias

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