Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments

Date:
December 9, 2009
Source:
Genetics Society of America
Summary:
Scientists have used worms to reel in information they hope will lead to a greater understanding of cellular mechanisms that may be exploited to treat epilepsy. In a new study, the researchers explain how the transparent roundworm, C. elegans, helped them identify key "molecular switches" that control the transport of a molecule (gamma-aminobutyric acid or "GABA") that if manipulated within our cells, might prevent the onset of seizures.

A team of scientists from The University of Alabama used worms to reel in information that they hope will lead to a greater understanding of cellular mechanisms that may be exploited to treat epilepsy. In a new research report in the journal Genetics, the researchers explain how the transparent roundworm, C. elegans, helped them identify key "molecular switches" that control the transport of a molecule (gamma-aminobutyric acid or "GABA") that if manipulated within our cells, might prevent the onset of seizures.

Related Articles


"It is our hope that this work serves to accelerate the path toward the identification of genetic factors that cause a susceptibility to epilepsy," said Guy A. Caldwell, Ph.D., co-author of the study from the Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. "Simultaneously, this work has the potential to uncover new avenues toward therapeutic development to control or prevent seizures in the future."

To make this finding, the researchers conducted experiments involving drugs known to affect neuronal activity in combination with DNA mutations in genetic factors shared between C. elegans and humans. Changes in the worm's neuronal activity led to repetitive convulsions believed to be similar to those experienced in epilepsy. These convulsions were observed under a microscope, and videos of those events were used to evaluate the severity of the neuronal changes. At the same time, the researchers used a green fluorescent protein to "tag" or "label" the cellular locale and delivery of GABA in neurons. This tagging allowed the researchers to see the specific genetic factors that led to abnormal movement of GABA in neurons as they coincided with worm seizures and to make appropriate comparisons with worms from the control group.

"Although much more work must be done before new drugs can be developed for people, these findings could offer hope to people with this devastating and frustrating condition," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of Genetics. "It may be hard to believe, but the cellular processes that occur in these worms are likely to be similar to those in humans. This work has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of what causes seizures in people, and could point the way to a remedy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Genetics Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cody J. Locke, Bwarenaba B. Kautu, Kalen P. Berry, S. Kyle Lee, Kim A. Caldwell, and Guy A. Caldwell. Pharmacogenetic Analysis Reveals a Post-Developmental Role for Rac GTPases in Caenorhabditis elegans GABAergic Neurotransmission. Genetics, 2009; 183 (4): 1357 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.106880

Cite This Page:

Genetics Society of America. "Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209134912.htm>.
Genetics Society of America. (2009, December 9). Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209134912.htm
Genetics Society of America. "Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209134912.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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