Research News

Muscle-derived FGFBP1 Helps Preserve Neuromuscular Junction Integrity, but Fails in ALS

Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β1) released by astrocytes has been implicated in mediating motor neuron death in ALS (see Apr 2015 news). Now, it is resurfacing as an agent of destruction through another avenue: it contributes to neuromuscular junction (NMJ) abnormalities in ALS. According to a paper in the November 14 Journal of Neuroscience, muscle […]

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More Evidence That Distinct Tau Strains May Cause Different Tauopathies

From corticobasal degeneration to frontotemporal dementia, tauopathies come in many guises. How disruptions in a single protein cause such varied diseases remains a mystery. Results from a new study support the idea that unique conformations of misfolded tau may be to blame. Researchers led by Marc Diamond of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center […]

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MAM Disruption Impairs Mitochondrial Function in Both SOD1 and SIGMAR1-ALS

Transient contact sites between mitochondrial and ER membranes, called mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAMs), play an important role in cellular homeostasis, calcium signaling, and mitochondrial function. The ALS-linked proteins VAPB and TDP-43 can perturb these structures and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction (see July 2014 news). Results published November 7 online in EMBO Molecular Medicine link two […]

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Novel Minipeptides Correct Mitochondrial Abnormalities Associated with CMT

Mutations in the mitochondrial membrane protein mitofusin 2 (MFN2) cause the neurodegenerative disorder Charcot-Marie Tooth disease type 2A. MFN2 is a GTPase that participates in the dynamic process of mitochondrial tethering and fusion, but a complete understanding its mechanism of action has been lacking. A paper published October 24 in Nature online provides the first […]

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