Washington: Researchers have linked the toxic build-up of certain proteins and related molecules in cells, including neurons, to mutations in a gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders.St. Jude Children`s Research Hospital scientists` new findings have provided the first evidence that a gene named VCP plays a role in the break-up and clearance of protein and RNA molecules that accumulate in temporary structures called RNA granules.RNAs perform a variety of vital cell functions, including protein production. RNA granules support proper functioning of RNA.In ALS and related degenerative diseases, the process of assembling and clearing RNA granules is impaired. The proteins and RNAs associated with the granules often build up in nerve cells of patients. This study shows how mutations in VCP might contribute to that process and neurodegenerative disease.
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