Science Saturday Highlights!
– New Biomarker for Epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut research identified a new biomarker for epilepsy in their patient population, call generalized paroxysmal fast activity (GPFA).
– Cargo Sorting: Researchers in Mumbai, India studied how KIF1A proteins deliver different cargo (think of a delivery truck full of different packages) along the neuron (think of a neighborhood street) and how proper sorting of the cargo is carried (think of delivery worker sorting packages and delivering them to the correct house). To understand how this cargo sorting happens, the authors mutated (or altered) several genes involved in the process and asked if KIF1A cargo transport would change.
– FDA: The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced its approval of the use of biomarkers in the assessment of gene therapies.
– Mosaic Mutations: Researchers in Zhengzhou China identified a family with inherited mosaic KIF1A mutations and studies their genetic sequencing to better understand KIF1A mosaicism. This post highlights the three different types of mosaicism and how they can affect the individual and their offspring.
– Recessive vs. Dominant gene expression: Researchers in South Korea studied a family with late onset gait disturbances. Genetic testing pointed to a KIF1A amino acid deletion outside the motor domain. One sibling had two copies of the deletion (one copy from each parent) and this caused disease symptoms; while the other sibling only had one copy of the deletion (inherited from only one parent) and did not have any symptoms. This is an important case study as it helps answer questions about recessive and dominate gene expression and how they might relate to KIF1A mutations.
– Brain Organoids: Researchers at the University of Queensland are now using cells from patients with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Type 56 to grown brain organoids and test potential gene therapies. Brain organoids are cells grown into a tissue that better represents the genetic makeup of real patients and provide more insight into the potential of a drug without risking human health.
– KIF1A dysfunction in creatine deficiency: Researchers studying mice unable to absorb creatine, a molecule that sustains cellular metabolism, found that these mice had altered levels of KIF1A, which could indicate KIF1A dysfunction. Healthy KIF1A expression was restored with a version of creatine that is easily absorbed into cells. People with creatine deficits exhibit some KAND-like symptoms, and this study could represent a link between the pathology of creatine deficiency and KIF1A mutations.