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Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.


Iron-dependent functions of mitochondria-relation to neurodegeneration

A number of neurodegenerative diseases are associated with iron dyshomeostasis and mitochondrial dysfunction. However, the pathomechanistic interplay between iron and mitochondria varies. This review summarises the physiological role of iron in mitochondria and subsequently exemplifies two neurodegenerative diseases with disturbed iron function in mitochondria: inherited Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) and idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD). In eukaryotes, mitochondria are main consumers of iron.

Iron-dependent functions of mitochondria-relation to neurodegeneration

Blood cells from Friedreich ataxia patients harbor frataxin deficiency without a loss of mitochondrial function

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused by GAA triplet expansions or point mutations in the FXN gene on chromosome 9q13. The gene product called frataxin, a mitochondrial protein that is severely reduced in FRDA patients, leads to mitochondrial iron accumulation, Fe-S cluster deficiency and oxidative damage. The tissue specificity of this mitochondrial disease is complex and poorly understood. While frataxin is ubiquitously expressed, the cellular phenotype is most severe in neurons and cardiomyocytes. 

Blood cells from Friedreich ataxia patients harbor frataxin deficiency without a loss of mitochondrial function

Friedreich's ataxia: Pathology, pathogenesis, and molecular genetics

The pathogenic mutation in Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is a homozygous guanine-adenine-adenine (GAA) trinucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 9q13 that causes a transcriptional defect of the frataxin gene. Deficiency of frataxin, a small mitochondrial protein, is responsible for all clinical and morphological manifestations of FRDA. This autosomal recessive disease affects central and peripheral nervous systems, heart, skeleton, and endocrine pancreas. Long expansions lead to early onset, severe clinical illness, and death in young adult life.

Friedreich's ataxia: Pathology, pathogenesis, and molecular genetics

Role of transcript & interplay between transcription and replication in triplet-repeat instability in mammalian cells

Triplet-repeat expansions cause several inherited human diseases. Expanded triplet-repeats are unstable in somatic cells, and tissue-specific somatic instability contributes to disease pathogenesis. In mammalian cells instability of triplet-repeats is dependent on the location of the origin of replication relative to the repeat tract, supporting the ‘fork-shift’ model of repeat instability.

Role of transcript and interplay between transcription and replication in triplet-repeat instability in mammalian cells

Preventing the ubiquitin/proteasome-dependent degradation of frataxin, the protein defective in Friedreich's Ataxia

Friedreich’s Ataxia (FRDA) is a devastating orphan disease, with no specific treatment. The disease is caused by reduced expression of the protein frataxin, which results in mitochondrial defects and oxidative damage. Levels of residual frataxin critically affect onset and progression of the disease. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate frataxin stability and degradation, may therefore be exploited for the design of effective therapeutics.

Preventing the ubiquitin/proteasome-dependent degradation of frataxin, the protein defective in Friedreich's Ataxia

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