Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating illness that causes the degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons, leading to eventual muscle atrophy. ALS rapidly progresses into paralysis, with patients typically dying due to respiratory complications within three to five years from the onset of their symptoms. Even after many years of research and drug trials, there is still no cure, and current therapies only succeed in increasing life-span by approximately three months. With such limited options available for patients, there is a pressing need to not only find a cure, but also make new treatments available in order to ameliorate disease symptoms. In a genome-wide association study previously conducted by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) upstream of a novel gene, FLJ10968, were found to significantly alter risk for ALS. This novel gene acquired the name FGGY after publication of the paper. FGGY exhibits altered levels of protein expression throughout ALS disease progression in human subjects, and detectable protein and mRNA expression changes in a mouse model of ALS. We performed co-immunoprecipitation experiments coupled with mass spectrometry in order to determine which proteins are associated with FGGY. Some of these potential binding partners have been linked to RNA regulation, including regulators of the splicesomal complex such as SMN, Gemin, and hnRNP C. To further validate these findings, we have verified co-localization of these proteins with one another. We hypothesize that FGGY plays an important role in ALS pathogenesis, and we will continue to examine its biological function.
- Targeting a Novel Genetic Risk Factor for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
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