With a $35,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Nicole Tartaglia from the University of Colorado Denver and Tracey Stackhouse aimed to develop neuromotor outcome measures for use in clinical trials in FXS, and to contribute to a deeper understanding of the neuromotor issues involved in FXS. This collaborative project was completed at the two sites of the Colorado Fragile X Clinic: The Children’s Hospital and Developmental FX. Dr. Nicole Tartaglia is the Medical Director of the Fragile X Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Denver. Tracy Murnan Stackhouse, MA, OTR is the co-founder of the Developmental & Fragile X Resource Centre (Developmental FX), a clinic specializing in fragile X.
With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Drs. Henri Tiedge and Jun Zhong studied the mechanisms by which local protein translation is repressed. Multiple parallel mechanisms keep protein synthesis in check; one of them involves FMRP, and a similar mechanism involves the non-coding RNA, BC1. Results published.
With a $219,500 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Stephen Haggarty from Havard/MIT developed a high-throughput drug screen to find compounds that inhibit GSK3, a critical enzyme in fragile X. He looked for compounds that can accomplish this either alone or in combination with lithium, offering the possibility of enhancing the effectiveness of lithium as a treatment. His drug screen used patient-specific neural progenitor (NP) cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – which are created from cells in a skin biopsy from people with fragile X syndrome (FXS) and other autism spectrum disorders.
With a $10,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Hessl at the University of California at Davis led a collaborative study to analyze the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) as an outcome measure for children and adults with fragile X syndrome. Results published.
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.
With in $150,000 grants from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2005-2009, Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau studied intact, anesthetized fragile X mouse brains, looking for defects in the density, length, or dynamics of the dendrites. They looked for changes in the neurons after treatment with mGluR5 antagonists.
With $155,000 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation over several years, Dr. Miklos Toth of Cornell University discovered increased startle response in fragile X mice and that baclofen can correct this phenotype. They also studied epigenetics (ie factors other than the gene itself) which can determine symptom severity 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.
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.
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.
With more than $1,000,000 from FRAXA Research Foundation over 13 years, Drs. William Greenough and Ivan-Jeanne Weiler at the University of Illinois uncovered the role of FMRP at synapses, leading to much of the subsequent research on fragile X syndrome.
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.