During December and November the Research Development team receive a number of Christmas presents from our funded researchers. These presents come in the form of ‘annual reports’ and, although they may not be wrapped in Christmas paper, once you open them you’re sure to find a nice research surprise!
One of our PhD students, Ambra Annibali, under the leadership of Prof Chris Miller at King’s College London, shared with us a lovely gel image in their report. The ‘gel image’ in this case is what researchers call a Western Blot.
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Research published yesterday on 3 June 2014 in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, highlights key insights into how the protein TDP-43 may cause motor neurones to die in MND. Association-funded researcher Prof Chris Miller based at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, was involved in the research.
In the majority of cases of MND the protein TDP-43 is found to form pathological clumps within the motor neurones. The build up of this protein is thought to cause the motor neurones to die in MND, however researchers are yet to identify how this happens.
Association-funded researcher Prof Chris Miller has identified that the protein TDP-43 causes the connection between two cellular compartments within the cell to loosen. The breakdown of this connection means that the mitochondria (the cell’s battery) and the endoplasmic reticulum (where proteins are made and recycled) can no longer communicate and work together.
By identifying this target within the cell, the search is now on to find drugs to restore the strength of this link. Read more about this news story on our website.
Only four days in and it seems that MND Awareness month is going to be anything but quiet.