Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chromosome Research On Flies Yields Insights Into Human Diseases

Date:
September 29, 2004
Source:
University Of Alberta
Summary:
Few have heard of the degenerative, deadly disease called Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), but a University of Alberta researcher is hoping to provide clues to this mysterious disorder.

Few have heard of the degenerative, deadly disease called Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), but a University of Alberta researcher is hoping to provide clues to this mysterious disorder.

Dr. Shelagh Campbell, from the U of A's Department of Biological Sciences, is a basic researcher who studies how normal cell cycles are regulated, by analyzing genes that are responsible for repairing DNA damage that offer insights into human diseases like cancer and A-T.

A-T is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects a startling number of body systems. Children with A-T appear normal at birth but at around the age of two, some of the first signs--walking and balance is wobbly caused by ataxia or lack of muscle control--start appearing.

"Kids are often misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy but what distinguishes A-T is it gets worse," said Campbell. "Sadly, many of the people with A-T end up in wheelchairs and most die young (I think there is a fair range).

Soon after the onset of A-T, children lose their ability to write and speech becomes slow and slurred. Reading eventually becomes impossible because eye movements are too hard to control. Other features of the debilitating disease include mild diabetes, premature graying of the hair, difficulty swallowing causing choking and drooling and slowed growth. Children with A-T also tend to be more predisposed to developing cancer. Ironically, the disease carries with it sensitivity to radiation, which means A-T patients cannot tolerate the therapeutic radiation usually given to cancer patients.

That's where Campbell hopes to apply her work. Scientists already know that the A-T protein (ATM) is fundamental to repairing DNA damage so she and her research team are studying ATM mutants, which behave as cells do when they are damaged.

In a recent issue of the journal, "Current Biology," Campbell describes how they examined ATM mutants for signs of locomotor defects in mutant and control flies and found the average climbing ability to be lower for the mutant males. Aside from locomotor defects, the mutants recapitulated major symptoms of the disease, A-T, including sensitivity to ionizing radiation and chromosome instability.

"If you want to study a conserved biological process, it makes sense to do it in a system where you can do all these genetic tricks," said Campbell of being able to create mutant proteins and manipulate such factors as temperature. "We have an excellent model for investigating the basic mechanisms of chromosome structural maintenance involving ATM, allowing us to study how ATM works in a meaningful developmental context."

Although a cure seems to be a long way off, using this system to understand more about how ATM works will offer more clues to treating the disease, said Campbell. "There are some serious efforts being made for treatment of A-T and what we learn may also make it easier to screen for known carriers," she said. "My hope is by fully understanding how ATM functions, at least we can look at improving the quality of life for those unfortunate to receive mutant alleles from both their parents. That's the million dollar question--how does ATM work, and we're slowly getting closer to understanding it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alberta. "Chromosome Research On Flies Yields Insights Into Human Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040928115713.htm>.
University Of Alberta. (2004, September 29). Chromosome Research On Flies Yields Insights Into Human Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040928115713.htm
University Of Alberta. "Chromosome Research On Flies Yields Insights Into Human Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040928115713.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins