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Targeted treatment for neurological disease

Research Achievements

Targeted treatment for neurological disease

Jennifer Rochira, who received her PhD in July 2010, characterized a recently identified protein, neurotrophin receptor-interacting melanoma-associated antigen protein (NRAGE), that disrupts the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway in neural progenitor cells. Working with a cell biologist and a physicist, she constructed cell lines with fluorescently tagged oligopeptides. She used these constructs for FRET analysis to identify interacting partners and the specific domain within NRAGE that was the target sequence. Using this information she was able to develop an oligopeptide that specifically disrupted downstream signaling in this developmental system. This finding provides fundamental information that could lead to targeted treatment of a number of neurological diseases.