Hong Kong research team unveils novel disease mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

(Xinhua) 09:14, January 09, 2024

HONG KONG, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) announced on Monday that its research team, collaborating with the University of Oxford, recently uncovered a novel molecular mechanism that leads to the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

According to researchers from CUHK, ALS is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord, causing muscle weakness, loss of coordination and ultimately respiratory failure. To date, ALS remains incurable.

To identify ALS therapeutic targets, the research team led by Edwin Chan Ho-yin, a professor from the School of Life Sciences at CUHK, studied the underlying mechanisms of gene transcriptional control in ALS.

The team demonstrated that the function of a transcriptional factor YY1 is perturbed in ALS patient spinal motor neurons, which subsequently induces a pathway and consequently leads to neuronal cell death. This offers additional mechanistic insights into ALS pathogenesis.

Chan said that elucidating the underlying disease mechanisms will not only allow researchers to better understand ALS pathogenesis but, more importantly, will also direct the development of new drug candidates against this devastating neurodegenerative condition.

The research findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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