MDA has awarded a grant totaling $444,314 over a period of three years to Steven Greenberg at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The funds will help support Greenberg's study of the role of a protein called TDP43 in sporadic and hereditary inclusion-body myositis (IBM).
In recent studies conducted on muscle fibers taken from people with IBM, researchers have found that a significant amount of TDP43 protein moves from its normal position inside the cell nucleus to the main part of the muscle fiber called the sarcoplasm. It's also known that TDP43 binds to RNA (the chemical step between DNA and protein synthesis), making it possible that the protein's redistribution in IBM disrupts the function of important RNA molecules in muscle sarcoplasm.
Greenberg and co-principal investigator J. Paul Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., plan to examine the effects of TDP43 redistribution to the sarcoplasm, with a particular focus on whether it causes damage to muscle fibers. (Taylor previously has demonstrated that similar mislocation of TDP43 is toxic in the eye of a fruit fly research model.) The researchers also plan to identify the specific RNA molecules affected by the mislocated TDP43.
MDA funding is critical, Greenberg said, because, "The Association funds translational discovery research, placing a priority on relevance to people with disease."
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.