Read aloud A molecular "kidnapping" destroys the brains of Veitstanz patients. The mechanism has been elucidated by researchers from Johns Hopkins University. In cell cultures, they have already been able to prevent the kidnapping and thus save the nerve cells, reports the journal "Science" (Volume 291, p. 2423). The gene-regulating protein "CBP" is hijacked by "huntingtin proteins", which are altered in the Veitstanz patient. The mutant huntingtin proteins stick to CBP and clump in the brain (picture: yellow-borne dot), found the researchers around Ted Dawson and Christopher Ross. CBP can no longer escape the lump and therefore does not initiate any vital processes in the nerve cells. This causes nerve cells to die. The patient first loses control of his movements, eventually becomes demented and dies.

In cell cultures, the researchers outwitted the kidnappers. They provided nerve cells with CBP proteins that had no "grip". Huntigtin was now unable to pack CBP and the Veitstanz nerve cells survived.

"Now we finally know what we need to do about future drugs, " says Ross. Next, the researchers are trying to rid the mice of the genetic disease of Veitstanz mice.

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