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Hum Mol Genet. 2012 May 1;21(9):2068-75. doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds024. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Chemical screen reveals small molecules suppressing fragile X premutation rCGG repeat-mediated neurodegeneration in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder recognized in fragile X premutation carriers. Using Drosophila, we previously identified elongated non-coding CGG repeats in FMR1 allele as the pathogenic cause of FXTAS. Here, we use this same FXTAS Drosophila model to conduct a chemical screen that reveals small molecules that can ameliorate the toxic effects of fragile X premutation ribo-CGG (rCGG) repeats, among them several known phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) inhibitors. We show that specific inhibition of PLA(2) activity could mitigate the neuronal deficits caused by fragile X premutation rCGG repeats, including lethality and locomotion deficits. Furthermore, through a genetic screen, we identified a PLA(2) Drosophila ortholog that specifically modulates rCGG repeat-mediated neuronal toxicity. Our results demonstrate the utility of Drosophila models for unbiased small molecule screens and point to PLA(2) as a possible therapeutic target to treat FXTAS.

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