With a $65,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2000-2001, Dr. Claudia Bagni focused on understanding the specific molecular interactions which regulate protein synthesis, and how they are altered in Fragile X. Dr. Bagni has moved from the University of Rome to VIB in Leuven, Belgium. Results published.
Research has shown that the Fragile X protein, FMRP, has several possible functions within neurons. It appears to shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm of cells, and it is present in dendrites and at synapses. Moreover, FMR1 mRNA is translated at synapses in response to synaptic activity. Dr. Bagni’s FRAXA grant enabled her to further define these processes: how the FMR1 mRNA gets to the dendrites, how the protein FMRP is made there and how it then influence synthesis of other proteins at the synapses. It also enabled her to identify and characterize some messenger RNAs that interact with FMRP at synapses.