Researchers at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) here, in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), have developed an optogenetic tool that may help understand brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, depression and schizophrenia.
In a statement, the JMI said the tool can study molecular trafficking in neurons and was developed by Dr. Tanveer Ahmad, who completed his postdoctoral studies at NIH before joining the University’s Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Research and Studies (MCARS) as an assistant professor.
“Understanding the molecular details of these diseases will help to develop targeted therapies, particularly viral and mRNA-based methods that are specific to a particular target molecule in the cells,” said Ahmad.
The tool can be applied to address other biological questions such as memory formation and the development of inducible light-activated therapies to treat cancer and neurodegeneration, he said.
Researchers harnessed the potential of phototropic receptors known as light-oxygen voltage sensing domains, derived from the Avena Sativa (oat) plant and abbreviated AsLOV2, innovative chimeric molecular designs by conjugating a light-sensitive domain of LOV2 to a protein called Neuregulin3 (NRG3).
In addition, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and depression all share genetic polymorphisms in NRG3, which have been reported as making it considered a susceptible gene to these diseases.
Using this innovative tool, the researchers discovered a new mechanism of protein transport in the brain’s hippocampal neurons, which they termed “transsynaptic retention,” they said.
Professor Mohd. Zulfequar, Director of MCARS, said these novel futuristic optogenetic techniques will provide unprecedented ease to understand human diseases and find innovative treatment solutions.
Optogenetic engineering has revolutionized the field of neuroscience, and collaborating with institutes around the world like the NIH shows that India is at the forefront of developing and implementing these cutting-edge technologies, he said.
A related study was published in a highly respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal – the Journal of Cell Biology of Rockefeller University, USA, the JMI said in a statement.
Ahmad is the lead author of the study, while Rituparna Chaudhuri and Nisha Chaudhary are the other contributing authors, it said.
The NIH team includes Dr. Andres Buonanno, the lead author, and Dr. Detlef Vullhorst, Dr. Carlos Guardia, Dr. Irina Karavanova and Dr. Juan Bonifacino, who are co-authors.
https://gadgets360.com/science/news/india-us-researchers-collaborate-develop-optogenetic-tool-brain-disorders-2952014 Researchers from India and the US are collaborating to develop an optogenetic tool for understanding brain diseases