Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists uncover most detailed picture yet of muscular dystrophy defect then design targeted new drug candidates

Date:
January 2, 2014
Source:
Scripps Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists have revealed an atomic-level view of a genetic defect that causes a form of muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy type 2, and have used this information to design drug candidates with potential to counter those defects—and reverse the disease.

Scripps Florida scientists revealed a detailed image of the genetic defect that causes myotonic dystrophy type 2, then used that information to design a drug candidate to counteract the disease.
Credit: Image courtesy of Scripps Research Institute

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have revealed an atomic-level view of a genetic defect that causes a form of muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy type 2, and have used this information to design drug candidates with potential to counter those defects -- and reverse the disease.

"This the first time the structure of the RNA defect that causes this disease has been determined," said TSRI Associate Professor Matthew Disney, who led the study. "Based on these results, we designed compounds that, even in small amounts, significantly improve disease-associated defects in treated cells."

Myotonic dystrophy type 2 is a relatively rare form of muscular dystrophy that is somewhat milder than myotonic dystrophy type 1, the most common adult-onset form of the disease.

Both types of myotonic dystrophy are inherited disorders that involve progressive muscle wasting and weakness, and both are caused by a type of genetic defect known as a "RNA repeat expansion," a series of nucleotides repeated more times than normal in an individual's genetic code. The repeat binds to the protein MBNL1, rendering it inactive and resulting in RNA splicing abnormalities -- which lead to the disease.

Many other researchers had tried to find the atomic-level structure of the myotonic dystrophy 2 repeat, but had run into technical difficulties. In a technique called X-ray crystallography, which is used to find detailed structural information, scientists manipulate a molecule so that a crystal forms. This crystal is then placed in a beam of X-rays, which diffract when they strike the atoms in the crystal. Based on the pattern of diffraction, scientists can then reconstruct the shape of the original molecule.

Prior to the new research, which was published in an advance, online issue of the journal ACS Chemical Biology, scientists had not been able to crystallize the problematic RNA. The Scripps Florida team spent several years on the problem and succeeded in engineering the RNA to have crystal contacts in different positions. This allowed the RNA to be crystallized -- and its structure to be revealed.

Using information about the RNA's structure and movement, the scientists were able to design molecules to improve RNA function.

The new findings were confirmed using sophisticated computational models that show precisely how the small molecules interact with and alter the RNA structure over time. Those predictive models matched what the scientists found in the study -- that these new compounds bind to the repeat structure in a predictable and easily reproducible way, attacking the cause of the disease.

"We used a bottom-up approach, by first understanding how the small components of the RNA structure interact with small molecules," said Jessica Childs-Disney of TSRI, who was first author of the paper with Ilyas Yildirim of Northwestern University. "The fact that our compounds improve the defects shows that our unconventional approach works."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica L. Childs-Disney, Ilyas Yildirim, HaJeung Park, Jeremy R. Lohman, Lirui Guan, Tuan Tran, Partha Sarkar, George C. Schatz, Matthew D. Disney. Structure of the Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2 RNA and Designed Small Molecules That Reduce Toxicity. ACS Chemical Biology, 2013; 131216144058009 DOI: 10.1021/cb4007387

Cite This Page:

Scripps Research Institute. "Scientists uncover most detailed picture yet of muscular dystrophy defect then design targeted new drug candidates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140102133027.htm>.
Scripps Research Institute. (2014, January 2). Scientists uncover most detailed picture yet of muscular dystrophy defect then design targeted new drug candidates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140102133027.htm
Scripps Research Institute. "Scientists uncover most detailed picture yet of muscular dystrophy defect then design targeted new drug candidates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140102133027.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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