Development of an oral treatment that rescues gait ataxia and retinal degeneration in a phenotypic mouse model of familial dysautonomia.
Familial dysautonomia (FD) is a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by a mutation in the gene encoding for the Elongator complex protein 1 (ELP1). This mutation leads to a reduction of ELP1 protein, mainly in the nervous system. Due to the crucial function of ELP1 in neuronal development and survival, FD patients exhibit many neurological symptoms, including retinal degeneration and inability to coordinate movements. In our recently published study, the Slaugenhaupt and Morini lab describes the optimization of an oral treatment for FD that restores the expression of functional ELP1 protein in every tissue, including brain, and rescues retinal degeneration and motor coordination in a mouse model of FD.