There areapproximately 250neurological - brain andnervous system - disorders. Combined, neurologic disorders are the leading cause of death, disability and loss of quality of life worldwide according to the World Health Organization. The incidence of these disorders ranges from stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer's, which affect millions, to rare diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ataxia's. To address the problem of brain and nervous system disorders investigators have focused attention on describing cell injury mechanisms. However, discovery of cell survival strategies could have profound impact on the treatment of neurologic disorders and disease and is an area that has not yet been rigorously investigated. Recently we developed a strategy to discover neuroprotective genes from preconditioned neural tissue. Some of the first genes we have begun to characterize provide protection not only against ischemic and excitotoxic injury but are protective against classic apoptotic injury triggered by staurosporin or serum withdrawal. This is very exciting, suggesting that it might be possible to find molecules that are broadly protective and therefore might provide treatment for stroke and perhaps even for other neurologic disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease or ALS. From this screen we identified a protein of unknown function that is potently neuroprotective that we have named Iduna and proposed the following aims to explore the biologic function of Iduna.
Aim 1 : What is the anatomical and cellular localization of Iduna in control and preconditioned tissues? Aim 2: What are the death programs against which Iduna protects neurons? Aim 3: Is Iduna neuroprotective in vivo? Aim 4: What is the neuroprotective network of Iduna? On completion of these studies we will have identified the biologic actions of Iduna and the survival pathways it mediates, as well as, identified potential disease targets that might benifit from expression of Iduna. Our long-term goal is to understand novel enodgenous survival pathways so that these pathways can be exploited for the treatment of neurologic injury and disease. The goal is to understand the function of Iduna so that translational therapy can be developed.
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