The next step for Richter and colleagues is to determine which, of the more than 300 mRNAs that both CPEB and FMRP bind to, contribute to Fragile X syndrome and how. They'll also begin looking at small molecules and other avenues that, like the ablation of the CPEB protein, might be able to slow down the synthesis of protein. "There are several small molecules that we know affect the translational apparatus," Richter said. "Some cross the blood/brain barrier, some are toxic, and some are not. We'd like to investigate those."
"This is another, great example of how basic science translates to human disease," said Richter. "If we had started out looking at the human brain, not knowing about the CPEB protein and its role in translational activity, we wouldn't have had any idea where to start or what to look for. But because we started out in the frog, where things are much easier to see, and because more often than not these processes are conserved, we've learned something new and totally unexpected that may have a profound impact on human disease."
|Contact: Jim Fessenden|
University of Massachusetts Medical School