Gene mutations linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have been identified by researchers.
A study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that the progressive fatal neurological disease is caused in many instances by a series of mutations, illuminating further the process by which ALS destroys cells and causes paralysis.
It was observed that mutations in the gene for profilin affect the structure and growth of nerve cells, causing patients to lose control of muscles.
Profilin plays a key role in the creation and remodelling of a nerve cell’s scaffolding or cytoskeleton.
Understanding how ALS develops in certain instances is key for the development of treatments to prolong the onset of the disease.
However, investigations into the condition are limited as it is hard to find subjects to monitor.
Nevertheless, it was found in a previous animal study that turning off a protein implicated in the disease can help cells balance energy.
This increases mobility and reduces the death of nerve cells.
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