NYC Healthcare News



Research provides new clues for compulsive behavior, cognitive defects linked with LND

February 04, 2016

HPRT is one of what is known as "housekeeping genes" that are expressed in most cells and usually thought to have simple functions in regulating metabolism and not necessarily in regulating complex processes in embryonic and neurological development. However, in 2009, Friedman's lab showed that HPRT plays an important role in affecting how transcription factor genes are expressed, and thus helps regulate important developmental pathways.

In this study, the researchers identified a number of signaling pathways that are significantly altered in HPRT-deficient cells, including aberrations related to the Wnt and presenilin (PS)-1 pathways. Wnt signaling controls many aspects of vertebrate development and biological processes including stem cell self-renewal and differentiation and neural pathway development, among others. Defects in the PS-1 signaling pathway play a causal role in forms of familial Alzheimer's disease, and also interact with Wnt.

Analyzing microarray-based gene expression data, the researchers found that the abnormal purine metabolism found in patients with LND causes defects in these two pathways. Interactions between the Wnt and PS-1 signaling pathways also suggest that they may cooperate in other neurodegenerative diseases.

"Such similarities in cell function are not likely to be coincidental," said Friedmann. "Instead, they offer important clues to cognitive defects and open up new targets for therapies to treat these diseases."

Source: University of California - San Diego