New Grant Increases Understanding of Fragile X
Hollis T. Cline, Associate Director of Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, has been awarded an 18-month, $100,000 grant from The Dana Foundation to support her project, Control of Neuronal Structure In Vivo by Local Protein Synthesis, aimed at understanding the function of the FMRP protein, the protein missing in patients with Fragile X syndrome.Fragile X syndrome is the single-most common inherited cause of mental impairment, with symptoms ranging from learning disabilities to mental retardation. For the past five to ten years, it has been known that children with Fragile X are missing FMRP, but the exact role of the protein has been unknown.
Hoping to understand the link between the protein and the disease, Dr. Cline believes that FMRP could be a regulatory protein. She seeks to discover whether FMRP increases or decreases protein synthesis and whether that change in protein synthesis controls the growth of neurons in the brain.
“We know that children who are missing this protein can’t learn. If we can figure out the basic biology of this protein, we can presumably help these kids,” Cline said.
The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization with principal interests in science, health, and education. The Foundation’s current areas of emphasis are in immunology and neuroscience research, and in K-12 education, particularly the training of arts educators. For more information, visit www.dana.org.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, non-profit basic research institution. Under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Stillman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), 308 scientists at the Laboratory conduct groundbreaking research in cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, and bioinformatics. For additional information, call (516) 367-8455, or visit the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory website at http://www.cshl.edu.