Developing Fragile X Treatments in Fruit Flies and Mice

Developing Fragile X Treatments in Fruit Flies and Mice

With a $380,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2005-2009, Drs. Sean McBride, Tom Jogens, and Catherine Choi studied one of the most important aspects of FRAXA’s research; the preclinical validation of potential therapeutic strategies. Many labs have found new leads for treatment. However, very few have the capacity to test new drugs in the mouse model to establish efficacy rigorously enough to lead to clinical trials. The McBride lab (in a broad collaboration with the Choi, Jongens, and Skoulakis groups) aims to do just that. Results published.

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Involvement of the miRNA Pathway in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $304,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over several years, Drs. Oostra and deVrij from Erasmus University studied miRNA and Fragile X. miRNAs are RNAs that can repress the translation of target mRNAs – therefore they can play a role in protein synthesis within the neuron. Preliminary results showed large differences in miRNA expression in the Fragile X mouse brain compared to the wild type. This lab investigated the effect of mGluR5 antagonists on the levels of these specific miRNAs.

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Genome-wide Epigenetic Markers in Fragile X

Genome-wide Epigenetic Markers in Fragile X

With $45,000 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation over several years, Dr. Miklos Toth of Cornell University studied epigenetics (ie factors other than the gene itself) which can determine symptom severity in Fragile X.

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Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Fragile X

Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Fragile X

With a $220,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 3 years, Dr. Iryna Ethell from the University of California at Riverside studied the regulation of dendritic structure by matrix metalloproteinases and other extracellular signaling pathways. This work identified a major treatment strategy for Fragile X with the available MMP-9 inhibitor, minocycline.

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Novel Functions of Drosophila FMRP

Novel Functions of Drosophila FMRP

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Dr. Thomas Dockendorff from the University of Tennessee and his colleagues were pioneers in using the power of fly genetics to understand the different functions of the fly version of the Fragile X protein.

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Basic Mechanisms of Disease and Potential Therapeutic Strategies

Basic Mechanisms of Disease and Potential Therapeutic Strategies

With $245,000 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Stephen Warren and his lab at Emory University studied all aspects of Fragile X syndrome, from the mechanisms of repeat expansion to high-throughput drug screens in the Drosophila model of Fragile X. The Warren lab made the original discovery of the Fragile X gene, FMR1, in collaboration with the Nelson and Oostra labs, and is recognized internationally as a leader in molecular genetics. Recent projects include establishment of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from Fragile X patients, and determination of other forms of mutation in the Fragile X gene, other than the most common trinucleotide repeat expansion.

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Glutamate Metabolism in Fragile X Mouse Brain

Glutamate Metabolism in Fragile X Mouse Brain

With a $95,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Mary McKenna at the University of Maryland studied the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) and how they affect other cells and pathways.

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Using Fenobam to Reduce APP and Abeta in Fragile X Mice

Using Fenobam to Reduce APP and Abeta in Fragile X Mice

With a $130,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2008-2008, Drs. James Malter and Cara Westmark at the University of Wisconsin studied the relationship between the Fragile X protein FMRP and APP, a protein important to the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease. APP may also contribute to the pathology of Fragile X, and its major metabolite, Aß, may contribute to abnormal protein synthesis via a positive feedback loop. This project sought to restore normal dendritic protein synthesis in Fragile X mice by breaking into this loop.

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AMPAkines and BDNF in Fragile X: UCI Researchers Restore Memory Process in Fragile X

AMPAkines and BDNF in Fragile X: UCI Researchers Restore Memory Process in Fragile X

With a $104,498 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2003-2008, Dr. Julie Lauterborn at the University of California has done several studies on dentritic spines and finding treatment targets for memory retention in Fragile X mice.

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Targeting the Role of Group 1 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors

Targeting the Role of Group 1 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors

With a $40,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2008, Dr. Huibert Mansvelder and his team at the University of Amsterdam studied the role of different receptors and their reactions to drug compounds.

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Effects of Alternative Splicing at FMR1 Exon 15 on Understanding Fragile X Syndrome

Effects of Alternative Splicing at FMR1 Exon 15 on Understanding Fragile X Syndrome

With a $118,500 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2007-2008, Dr. Robert Denman and his team at the New York State Institute for Basic Research studied protein splicing, specifically looking at exon 15-encoded residues of of FMPR.

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FRAXA Contributes $10,000 to NIH grant to Seaside Therapeutics

FRAXA Contributes $10,000 to NIH grant to Seaside Therapeutics
Randy Carpenter, MD Principal Investigator with Mark Bear, PhD, MIT Co-Investigator (2007)   Clinical development of mGluR5 Antagonists to Treat Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Seaside Therapeutics received a major grant from the NIH, with additional funding from FRAXA and Cure Autism Now (CAN) to develop STX107, a selective mGluR5 antagonist, as a treatment for Fragile X. Unfortunately Seaside has since discontinued development of STX107.Read more

Neurobiology of Fragile X Syndrome: A Unifying Neuro-Endocrine Hypothesis

With a $74,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi at CUNY explored the GABA receptor system in Fragile X mice and tested somatostatin and taurine as potential therapies for Fragile X; while somatostatin must be infused intravenously, taurine is available as a nutritional supplement.

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Decreased Excitatory Drive onto Parvalbumin-Positive Neocortical Inhibitory Neurons in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

Decreased Excitatory Drive onto Parvalbumin-Positive Neocortical Inhibitory Neurons in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

With an $80,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2006-7, Drs. Jay Gibson and Kimberly Huber at the University of Texas at Southwestern examined if the defected inhibitory neurotransmission was a primary or secondary symptom of Fragile X to determine where future treatment targets should be focused.

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Electrophysiological, Biochemical and Immunohistochemical Characterization of Kv3.1 in Auditory Brainstem Nuclei in the Fragile X Knockout Mouse

Electrophysiological, Biochemical and Immunohistochemical Characterization of Kv3.1 in Auditory Brainstem Nuclei in the Fragile X Knockout Mouse

With $80,000 in funding from FRAXA over several years, the Yale University team of Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD showed that loss of FMRP leads to an increased Kv3.1 potassium currents. This change impairs timing of action potentials in auditory neurons (and likely others throughout the brain).

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Baclofen: GABA(B) Receptor Supersensitivity and Normalization of Behavioral Abnormalities by Various GABA(B) Agonists Including Baclofen in FMRP Deficient Mice

Baclofen: GABA(B) Receptor Supersensitivity and Normalization of Behavioral Abnormalities by Various GABA(B) Agonists Including Baclofen in FMRP Deficient Mice

With $110,000 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation over several years, Dr. Miklos Toth from Cornell University discovered increased startle response in Fragile X mice and that baclofen can correct this phenotype.

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Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation in Fragile X Syndrome

Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation in Fragile X Syndrome

The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is our central stress response system. FRAXA Research Foundation awarded Dr. Carolyn B. Smith $62,000 in funding in 2005 to explore the HPA axis in Fragile X mice. The results of their study indicate that, in FVB/NJ mice, the hormonal response to and recovery from acute stress is unaltered by the lack of Fragile X mental retardation protein. Results published.

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Therapeutic Interventions in FMR1 Knockout and Transgenic Mice: Role of the FMR1 Gene

Therapeutic Interventions in FMR1 Knockout and Transgenic Mice: Role of the FMR1 Gene

With a $229,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2006, Drs. Richard Paylor, David Albeck, and Francis Brennan at the Baylor College of Medicine found that, in mice as in humans, the level of Fragile X protein in brain cells plays a prominent role in determining levels of activity and anxiety.

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Social Deficits in Fragile X Syndrome: Do Gene-Gene Interactions Play a Role?

Social Deficits in Fragile X Syndrome: Do Gene-Gene Interactions Play a Role?

With a $100,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2005-2006, Drs. Jean Lauder and Sheryl Moy at the University of North Carolina looked for gene-gene interactions in Fragile X syndrome.

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Pharmacologic Interventions in the Fmr1 KO Mouse

Pharmacologic Interventions in the Fmr1 KO Mouse

With $48,600 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2004-2006, Dr. Catherine Choi at Drexel University studied Fragile X knockout mice to determine future treatment targets for Fragile X syndrome in humans.

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Generating Human Neurons Carrying the Fragile X Mutation

Generating Human Neurons Carrying the Fragile X Mutation

With a $50,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Clive Svendsen and his team at the University of Wisconsin grew neural stem cells that expressed the Fragile X mutation to help scientists better understand the gene characteristics. 

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