The Slack Potassium Ion channel as a Therapeutic Target for Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X mental retardation protein is required for rapid experience-dependent regulation of the potassium channel. Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD and Jack Kronengold, PhD have investigated how the excitability of neurons becomes modified in the absence of the FMRP protein. The levels of two potassium channels, termed Slack and Kv3.1, are altered in mice that lack this protein. Significant progress has been made in identifying novel pharmacological activators of the Slack potassium channel for potential therapeutic intervention in FXS individuals.

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Role of Excessive Protein Synthesis in the Ontogeny of FXS

Role of Excessive Protein Synthesis in the Ontogeny of FXS

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2010-2011, Dr. Mark Bear and Dr. Miquel Bosch tested the simple hypothesis that the excessive rate of protein synthesis is not a consequence but the primary cause of the structural alterations occurring in Fragile X syndrome.

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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

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.

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Understanding the Mechanism of mGluR5 in Fragile X Mouse Models

Understanding the Mechanism of mGluR5 in Fragile X Mouse Models

With $184,000 in funding from FRAXA Research Foundation from 1996-2005, Dr. Ben Oostra and his team at Erasmus University have done multiple studies related to Fragile X syndrome. This lab created the first Fragile X mouse models and went on to perform many critical studies in Fragile X mouse models. Results published.

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The miRNA Pathway in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2008-2009, Drs. Oostra and deVrij at 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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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 2008-2009, 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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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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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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Defining Functional Domains of FMRP and Uncovering its Partners via Large Scale Mutagenesis in Drosophila

Defining Functional Domains of FMRP and Uncovering its Partners via Large Scale Mutagenesis in Drosophila

With $80,000 in funding from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2005 and in 2006, Dr. Yong Zhang and his team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a way to find genes that suppress the Fragile X gene. FRAXA grants $40,000 (2006) and $40,000 (2005) by Xinda Lin show that FMRP is a widely expressed RNA-binding protein involved in RNA transport and translation. Intensive studies in the last decade have demonstrated that FMRP contains four RNA binding domains, but their actual functions are mostly untested. Meanwhile, a dozen or so protein partners and hundreds of mRNA targets interacting with FMRP have been identified, but again their functions are poorly understood.

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Splicing Variations of the Fragile X Gene

Splicing Variations of the Fragile X Gene

With an $80,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2005-2006, Dr. David Morris and his team at the University of Washington aimed to understand the variation in distribution and function of FMRP isoforms, sought to identify isoforms of FMRP in mouse brain, and define the expression pattern of these versions of the protein.

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Drosophila CYFIP, a Molecular Link Between Actin Cytoskeleton Remodeling and Fragile X

Drosophila CYFIP, a Molecular Link Between Actin Cytoskeleton Remodeling and Fragile X

With $130,000 in funding from FRAXA Research Foundationfrom 2004-2006, Dr. Angela Giangrande at the Universite Louis Pasteur investigated the interactions between dendrites, messenger mRNA, and the cytoskeleton in fruit flies, which are a simple yet powerful system in which multiple genes can be manipulated with relative ease.

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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 $60,000 in grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, 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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Role of MicroRNAs in Fragile X Syndrome

Role of MicroRNAs in Fragile X Syndrome

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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DFXR and Synaptic Tagging in Drosophila (Fruit Flies)

DFXR and Synaptic Tagging in Drosophila (Fruit Flies)

With a $135,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2001-2003, Dr. Jerry Yin and his team at the University of Wisconsin researched memory formation in Fragile X fruit flies. Dr. Yin started his Fragile X studies at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory before moving to the Waisman Center.

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Understanding the Function of Fragile X Protein in Drosophila

Understanding the Function of Fragile X Protein in Drosophila

With a $105,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2000-2003, Drs. Haruhiko Siomi and Mikko Siomi at Tokushima University researched approaches to characterize the Drosophila homolog of FMR1 and its associated molecules, and to identify molecular pathways that are involved in the cellular processes which are affected by the loss-of-function of Drosophila FMR1.

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