Pretty ‘fly’ for a fruit fly

A fruit fly

Dr Frank Hirth is one of the world’s leading fruit fly MND researchers. Based at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, he has been working on an Association-funded project developing a C9orf72 fruit fly model of MND. Here we mark the end of this project, and report on what the researchers have achieved.

Background

In September 2011, an international collaboration, co-funded by the Association, had discovered a genetic mistake within the C9orf72 gene that was found to cause almost 40% of cases of inherited MND. Read More »

Another piece in the MND Jigsaw..

TDP-43Research 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.