Upgrading Cells With Intrabodies

EurekAlert! examines another technology with the potential to clean up cells of compounds that accumulate and damage us with age. Here it's aimed at Huntington's disease, but you can see the potential for broader application: "researchers engineered a virus to make an intracellular antibody or 'intrabody' against huntingtin, the protein whose mutant forms poison the brain cells of people with Huntington's. Injecting the virus into the brains of mice that make mutant huntingtin improves their ability to move their limbs ... Delivering the intrabody to brain tissues in people would be a formidable challenge, because it would require some form of gene therapy ... finding an antibody that prefers to bind mutant, aggregated protein could also prove useful in the study of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. ... Several neurodegenerative diseases appear to involve defects in protein folding and metabolism, leading to the accumulation of protein aggregates inside cells. Our study suggests a strategy for dissecting the harmful effects of these protein aggregates in other diseases."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/eu-cm052308.php


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