New Treatment for Epilepsy?

30th Sep 2016

Past research into the protein 'Skywalker' has been shown to play a crucial role in maintaining communication between brain cells. In the human brain, an almost identical protein is 'TBC1D24'. Genetic mutations on this protein can cause serious genetic disorders like epilepsy. 

Through extensive analysis of the structural biology of the Skywalker protein, they researchers found that it connects with specific brain fats, and that this connection is shown to be impaired in over 70% of patients with the TBC1D24 mutation. 

With this knowledge, they went onto increase the connections of Skywalker proteins in the fruit flies and found that epileptic seizures were completely suppressed. This work shows that increasing specific brain fats at the synapses of patients with TBC1D24 mutation is a possible strategy for helping epileptic patients. 

Further research is being done to try find a strategy for increasing the connection of specific fats in the brain.

To read the research in full go to Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

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