New gene-pathway to suppress Lou Gehrig’s disease

A nerve protection gene that inhibits Lou Gehrig’s disease has been newly discovered by a research team from the Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST).

A research team led by professor Lim Jung-hoon of UNIST discovered “LSM12” and “EPAC1” genes that suppress degenerative brain diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and prefrontal dementia and identified their neural cell protection path according to UNIST in December 2020.

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In general, there are more RAN proteins in the nucleus, but in patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, RAN proteins are leaked to the cytoplasm, causing abnormal differences in concentration. The gene corrects the abnormal distribution of certain proteins (RAN proteins) in nerve cells in patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease to suppress cell death.

According to the research team, transportation of matter between the nucleus and the cytoplasm surrounding it is essential to maintain cell function. In particular, malfunction of transporting materials between nuclear and cytoplasm has recently been deemed as one of the causes of neuron cellular death in various degenerative brain diseases.

The team discovered a gene pathway called ‘LSM12’-‘EPAC1 that inhibits nerve cell extinction.

The research team explained that the protein expressed in this gene pathway normalizes the “difference in RAN protein concentration” that determines the direction of material transport between nuclear and cytoplasm to restore cell function.

The research team expects that this study will greatly contribute to the establishment of knowledge for a molecular biological understanding of the general aging process as well as predicting and treating diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and prefrontal dementia.”

The study was published in the online edition of PLOS Biology, an international journal in the field of life science.


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