News from CRG
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating and incurable nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control and normally death within a few years of diagnosis. In ALS, like in other neurodegenerative diseases, specific protein aggregates have long been recognized as the pathological hallmarks, but it is not clear whether they represent the actual cause of the disease. Indeed, alleviating aggregation has repeatedly failed as a therapeutic strategy when trying to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In order to cast more light on this issue, researchers at the Center of Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) have applied a novel approach called deep mutagenesis, with unexpected results. “By studying all possible mutations in a protein, we have a much more reliable way to understand toxicity and we are excited to move on to many more proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases”, says Benedetta Bolognesi, IBEC researcher, CRG Alumni and first author of the paper.
Bolognesi, B., Faure, A.J., Seuma, M., Schmiedel, J.M., Tartaglia, G.G. & Ben Lehner (2019). The mutational landscape of a prion-like domain. Nature Communications 10, 4162. 10.1038/s41467-019-12101-z