Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jammed molecular motors may play a role in the development of ALS

Date:
June 12, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Delays in the transport of nutrients, proteins and neurotransmitters along the nerve axon could be a major factor in the development of the neurodegenerative disease ALS.

Slowdowns in the transport and delivery of nutrients, proteins and signaling molecules within nerve cells may contribute to the development of the neurodegenerative disorder ALS, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Related Articles


The researchers showed how a genetic mutation often associated with inherited ALS caused delays in the transport of these important molecules along the long axons of neurons.

Their findings were published in the online journal PLOS ONE on June 12.

Motor neurons are among the longest cells in the human body -- some may extend half a person's height, as much as three feet. This poses a problem if all the cellular building blocks are made at one end of the cell, where the nucleus sits, but are needed at the other end of the cell.

Neurons have the molecular equivalents of highways and delivery trucks -- nerve fibers and motor proteins -- that run along their long axons, ferrying material back and forth. But when shipping is held up, and products aren't getting to where they are needed, the cell can't function optimally. These transport problems can cause neurons to lose contact with other neurons and muscles.

"If the transport process is delayed or slowed, the terminal end of the cell can run out of materials it needs, and can lose its synaptic connection with its neighboring neurons," says Gerardo Morfini, UIC assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology and the co-principal investigator on the study. "Without the connections, the cells die."

"Cell death is the final stage in a long disease process in ALS," said Scott Brady, UIC professor and head of anatomy and cell biology and co-principal investigator. "We wanted to understand the pathological process in neurons leading up to cell death."

Neuroscientists know that mutations in a protein called SOD1 account for many of the 10 percent of ALS cases that are inherited. Ninety percent of ALS cases have no known cause and are termed sporadic.

Brady and colleagues had previously shown, using high-resolution video microscopy of squid axons, that a mutant variant of the protein significantly slowed down the transport of material from one end of the cell to the other.

In the new study, the researchers looked at how the mutated form of SOD1 caused the slowdown in cellular transport. They found that the mutated protein activated molecules called p38 kinases, which in turn modified a major motor protein involved in moving cargo along the nerve axons. These modified motor proteins moved poorly compared to controls that were exposed to unmutated SOD1.

They also showed that transport in in genetically altered mice was also slowed by mutant SOD1, through the same mechanism.

"The pathways between SOD1 and the p38 kinases could provide interesting targets for therapeutic intervention in treating ALS, both for some of the genetic forms and the spontaneous forms, where malfunctioning SOD1 is also a contributing factor," said Brady.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gerardo A. Morfini, Daryl A. Bosco, Hannah Brown, Rodolfo Gatto, Agnieszka Kaminska, Yuyu Song, Linda Molla, Lisa Baker, M. Natalia Marangoni, Sarah Berth, Ehsan Tavassoli, Carolina Bagnato, Ashutosh Tiwari, Lawrence J. Hayward, Gustavo F. Pigino, D. Martin Watterson, Chun-Fang Huang, Gary Banker, Robert H. Brown, Scott T. Brady. Inhibition of Fast Axonal Transport by Pathogenic SOD1 Involves Activation of p38 MAP Kinase. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (6): e65235 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065235

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Jammed molecular motors may play a role in the development of ALS." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173334.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2013, June 12). Jammed molecular motors may play a role in the development of ALS. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173334.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Jammed molecular motors may play a role in the development of ALS." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612173334.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. 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:

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