After the cloning of the HMSNL gene: molecular pathogenesis of the disease [ 2001 - 2003 ]

Also known as: Molecular basis of hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy - Lom

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Luba Kalaydjieva (Principal investigator) ,  Dr Frank Koentgen

Brief description We have completed an NHMRC-funded study, where we identified the gene for a severe disorder of the peripheral nervous system. The disease, hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy - Lom (HMSNL), presents with gait disturbances, difficulty in using the hands, muscle weakness and wasting and sensory loss. The concomitant impairment of the insulating myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibres (facilitating nerve conduction) and of the nerve fibres themselves suggests that the molecular defect lies in the basic mechanisms of interaction between the two main types of cell in the peripheral nervous system: the myelin-producing Schwann cell and the neuron. The two cells form the most complex system of communication in the human body, where signaling from one is vital for the development, functioning and survival of the other. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms of this communication. At the same time, knowledge of the normal mechanisms of interaction is the key to better understanding of the mechanisms of disease in the peripheral nervous system and of the causes and possible prevention of the impairment of function. The newly identified HMSNL gene is probably involved in the signaling necessary for the development and functioning of the Schwann cell and for the survival of the nerve fibres. To gain an insight into the nature of the signaling cascade, we propose to use several complementary experimental approaches. We will create a mouse model of the human disease, to study its very early stages and subsequent evolution. In parallel, we will use molecular techniques and a yeast model, to identify other steps in the signaling cascade. The NHMRC-funded study will be part of a larger project conducted in collaboration with leading laboratories in the UK and the Netherlands, where other aspects of the molecular basis of the disease and of the role of the new gene will be examined.

Funding Amount $AUD 258,564.26

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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