A protein commonly found in skin cells called epidermal growth factor-beta (EGF-beta) is implicated in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) a common eye disease that disproportionately affects the elderly. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have discovered that in children who suffer from AMD this protein helps to defend against white blood cell damage. In addition the protein is significantly overproduced in the eye suggesting that this protein might become a marker for age-related macular degeneration. Our findings are important because they could lead to an increased understanding of molecular regulators of AMD as well as the role that the protein plays in normal eye health said Associate Professor Jessica Reinhardt Ph. D. of VUMC. To determine whether the protein played any role in AMD the researchers stimulated the protein with a chemical compound and measured its levels in the eye.
They found AMD in both normal and disease-prone mouse model mice. Mice genetically bred to lack the EGF-beta protein in aged mice developed severe AMD. In contrast aged mice that were supplemented with cells taken from the eyes of sick children developed normal AMD with few genetic markers of resistance. Our observations suggest that it may be possible to use viral vectors to induce immune-mediated damage andor enzymatic characterizations of protein components the authors wrote in their paper. Friedreichs ataxia-associated protein 1 (FAP-1) is a high-risk gene that is overexpressed in patients with Type 1 diabetes. The researchers found that the contribution of shRNA tappers which are sticky protein PAX4 enzymes that bind to protein aggregates significantly improved the chances that an enzyme-targeted PI3K inhibitor such as DAT-481 would be safe for treating human brain cancer.