New insights into the life and death of motor neurons
A new study from the Gillingwater lab shows that a key protein involved in Spinal Muscular Atrophy plays an important role in regulating the generation of new proteins in neurons.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is the childhood form of motor neuron disease
The study revealed that the SMN protein regulates protein translation by influencing one major element of the machinery responsible for converting RNA into protein in cells, known as ribosomes.
Experiments in a mouse model of SMA demonstrated that defects in protein translation and ribosomes are an important, but reversible, factor that can contribute to the breakdown and loss of motor neurons in motor neuron disease.
The Gillingwater lab worked in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Trento in Italy.