Key protein behind Huntington’s disease identified

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2011, 14:43 PM IST

London: Scientists have discovered how a form of the protein linked to Huntington’s disease influences the timing and severity of its symptoms.

The finding paves way for potential treatments not only for this disease, but also a variety of similar conditions.

The laboratory of Gladstone Senior Investigator Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD, singles out one form of a misfolded protein (such as Alzheimer’s disease and type 1 diabetes) in neurons that best predicts whether the neuron will die.

Neuronal death is key to the development of Huntington’s symptoms—including erratic behaviour, memory loss and involuntary muscle movement.

“Effective treatments for diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s have been slow to develop,” said Dr. Finkbeiner, whose research at Gladstone investigates the interactions between genes, neurons and memory.

“We hope that our newfound understanding of precisely which misfolded proteins contribute to disease symptoms will speed up drug development for sufferers,” he added.

The study was recently published in Nature Chemical Biology.

ANI