ALS mystery illuminated by blue light

Press Release

Optogenetic modulation of TDP-43 oligomerization accelerates ALS-related pathologies in the spinal motor neurons

Kazuhide Asakawa, Hiroshi Handa, Koichi Kawakami

Nature Communications 11, 1004 (2020) DOI:10.1038/s41467-020-14815-x

Press release (In Japanese only)

A joint research group in Japan has succeeded in reproducing key ALS symptoms in a small tropical fish by remote controlling a disease-associated protein molecule using light illumination.

In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease, nerve cells called motor neurons progressively degenerate. These motor neurons accumulate inclusions containing an aggregated form of TDP-43 protein.

In human body, motor neurons align along the spinal cord length and extend along the cables called axons to connect with muscles covering the body surface. This anatomical feature makes motor neurons one of the most difficult cells to observe. Consequently, we do not fully understand when and how healthy motor neurons begin to become abnormal and pathological in ALS. Read More>

Video: An optogenetic ALS zebrafish showing motor decline after blue light illumination (right).


EurekAlert!, the online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society, PUBLIC RELEASE: 26-FEB-2020


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