Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

With funding from FRAXA, the Yale University team of Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD showed that the firing pattern of suditory neurons in response to repeated stimulation is severely abnormal in Fragile X mice. Based on these results, they are collaborating with the UK-based company Autifony to develop advanced compounds which may reverse these deficits.

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In Their Own Words: Reports From the International Fragile X Workshop

In Their Own Words: Reports From the International Fragile X Workshop

The 18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop in Quebec, Canada, was a great success, featuring Fragile X much more heavily than any previous meeting in this series! We asked our speakers to summarize their work in their own words. These brief updates from researchers investigating Fragile X.

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Connectivity as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

Connectivity as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

With a 2017 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation of $90,000, Dr. Andreas Frick’s team at Neurocentre Magendie, in France, will test non-invasive imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a potential biomarker for future Fragile X syndrome clinical trials.

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Modulating cAMP and cGMP Levels to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Modulating cAMP and cGMP Levels to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation funded a 2016 grant of $90,000 over two years for a postdoctoral fellowship for Thomas Maurin, PhD, who is working under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Bardoni at INSERM in France. This project has been renewed in 2017 for a second year. The team works on the biochemistry of the Fragile X protein.

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Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

With a 2015-2016 $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Herve Moine and Dr. Andrea Geoffroy aim to uncover the exact role of FMRP and to test a novel possible means to correct for FMRP absence in the mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

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Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

With a $349,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2008-2015, Dr. Paul Lombroso and his team at Yale University researched if inhibiting STEP could reduce behavioral abnormalities in Fragile X syndrome. Results published.

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Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

With a $180,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation over 2011-2014, Dr. Yue Feng and Dr. Wenqi Li at Emory University will study CDK5 pathway function and regulation in an effort to break down whether and how CDK5 signaling is affected by the loss of the Fragile X protein, FMRP, in the Fragile X mouse model.

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Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

Yue Feng, PhD — Emory University School of Medicine with Wenqi Li, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow FRAXA Awards:  $180,000 $45,000 in 2013 renewed for $45,000 in 2014 $45,000 in 2011 renewed for $45,000 in 2012     Weakened synaptic development and synaptic plasticity, as a result of lacking the functional Fragile X protein (FMRP), underlies the intellectual disability in Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Decades of  investigation established the role of FMRP in binding its mRNA targets and regulating translation in response to neuronal and synaptic activity changes. Exciting discoveries on two receptors, mGluR5 and GABA, signaling in FXS animal models have led to promising therapeutic approaches based on variation of synaptic activity by mGluR5 antagonists and GABA agonists. However, clinical trials only achieved partial reverse of FXS phenotype. Thus, developing additional therapeutic strategies for treating the full spectrum of FXS symptoms are still pressing challenges. The identification of genome-wide  Fragile X protein (FMRP)  target mRNAs by recent discoveries provides important clues

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Fragile X Syndrome Protein Linked to Breast Cancer Progression

Having Fragile X Syndrome May Protect Against Breast Cancer Claudia Bagni (VIB/KU Leuven, Belgium, and the University of Rome, Italy) and colleagues have identified the way Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein or FMRP contributes to the progression of breast cancer. The researchers demonstrated that FMRP acts as a master switch controlling the levels of several proteins involved in different stages of aggressive breast cancer, including the invasion of cancer cells into blood vessels and the spread of these cancer cells to other tissues forming metastasis. The work is published online in EMBO Molecular Medicine. The authors identified high levels of FMRP in human breast cancer tissue microarrays and also examined the effects of FMRP levels in a mouse model to study breast cancer. In these mice, high levels of FMRP in primary breast cancer tumors were also linked to the spread of the cancer to the lungs and the developmentRead more

Ab-Mediated Translation in Fragile X Syndrome

Ab-Mediated Translation in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation during 2011-2012, Dr. Cara Westmark at the University of Wisconsin explored the role of AbPP as a potential treatment option for fragile X. AbPP produces b-amyloid which is over-expressed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Down syndrome. 

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Synaptic Actin Signaling Pathways in Fragile X

Synaptic Actin Signaling Pathways in Fragile X

With a $163,356 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2010-12, Dr. Scott Soderling and Dr. Hwan Kim at Duke University bred the standard mouse model of Fragile X syndrome to their lines of mice that express reduced levels of several key proteins that modulate synaptic actin. These compound mutant mice were compared to FXS mice to determine if genetically impairing pathways to the actin cytoskeleton can rescue deficits in the FXS mice.

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Genetic and Pharmacologic Manipulation of PI3K Activity in FXS: Assessing Potential Therapeutic Value

Genetic and Pharmacologic Manipulation of PI3K Activity in FXS: Assessing Potential Therapeutic Value

With a $90,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Gary Bassell and his team at Emory University explored the PI3K/mTOR signaling complex in FXS via genetic and pharmacologic rescue approaches, to reduce the enzymatic function of specific components of this complex pathway in an FXS mouse model.

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Role of JNK in FMRP Regulated Translation in Fragile X Syndrome

Role of JNK in FMRP Regulated Translation in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Dr. Michael Wilhelm and his team at the University of Wisconsin studied a protein known as JNK, which is observed to be abnormally regulated in Fragile X. Like FMRP, it is involved in regulating dendritic protein synthesis, and so it may be a target for drug therapy in Fragile X.

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Altered Dendritic Synthesis of Postsynaptic Scaffold Protein Shank1 in Fragile X Syndrome

Altered Dendritic Synthesis of Postsynaptic Scaffold Protein Shank1 in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $106,800 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Drs. Stephan Kindler and Hans-Jurgen Kreieinkamp studied a protein, Shank1, which is overabundant in Fragile X syndrome.

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Composition and Localization of Dendritic mRNAs in Fragile X Syndrome

Composition and Localization of Dendritic mRNAs in Fragile X Syndrome
With a $80,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Drs. Smith and Wang are investigating which proteins, as well as the mRNA's that code those proteins, are dysregulated in Fragile X. They have developed a elegant system to visualize the proteins and mRNA's and determine where they are spacially in the neuron. This will help to better understand the root causes of Fragile X syndrome and to design targeted treatments. $80,000 Grant Stephen Smith, PhD Principal Investigator Stanford University 2008-2009 FRAXA Research Grant $80,000 over 2 Years A Quantitative Study by Array Tomographic Florescent In Situ Hybridization by Gordon Wang, 8/1/2008 Fragile X syndrome is caused by the malfunction of a fundamental cellular process, the ability of cells to regulate spatially distinct pools of messenger RNA (mRNA). One of the cell types most affected is the neuron. This highly asymmetric cell type relies upon a tightly orchestrated network of proteinsRead more

Understanding the Mechanism of mGluR5

Understanding the Mechanism of mGluR5

With a $304,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 1996-2009, Dr. Ben Oostra and his team at Erasmus University have done multiple studies related to Fragile X syndrome, the most recent being a study of spine morphology. Drs. Oostra and deVrij 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. 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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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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Role of FMRP in the Regulation of Synaptic Plasticity

Role of FMRP in the Regulation of Synaptic Plasticity

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.

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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 $178,500 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 1998-2008, 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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Genetic and Behavioral Analyses of the dFMR1 Pathway in Drosophila Peripheral Nervous System

Genetic and Behavioral Analyses of the dFMR1 Pathway in Drosophila Peripheral Nervous System

With a $160,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2004-2006, Dr. Fen-Biao Gao and his team at the University of California studied the relationship between mRNA and FMRP.

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Transcriptional Regulation of the Fragile X Gene

Transcriptional Regulation of the Fragile X Gene

With a $95,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2001-2006, Dr. Justin Fallon and his team at Brown University studied systematic mapping of Fragile X granules in developing mouse brains, revealing a potential role for presynaptic FMRP in sensorimotor functions.

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The Role of MicroRNAs in the Pathogenesis of Fragile X

The Role of MicroRNAs in the Pathogenesis of Fragile X

With a $70,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2004-2005, Drs. Thomas Tuschl and Neil Renwick and their team at Rockefeller University researched how FMRP interacts with miRNA in order to determine more effective treatment targets for Fragile X syndrome.

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