Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have been awarded a five-year $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Rohit Pappu, PhD, the Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University, and Tanja Mittag, of the St. Jude Department of Structural Biology, received the funds to study RNA-binding proteins that are mutated in patients with familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The goal is to uncover the mechanisms underlying the formation of solid inclusions of these RNA-binding proteins and to enable future identification of new therapeutics for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work together and build on efforts that were catalyzed by the St. Jude Research Collaborative,” Pappu said. “Our focus is on key components of stress granules and the impact of ALS associated mutations on hitherto underappreciated aspects of pathology that are tied to arrested dynamics of proteins within stress granules. Being able to modulate these dynamics would be a novel therapeutic strategy in ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders.”