FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, binds to the RNA sequences of 939 genes, 93 of which have been linked to autism, according to a study published 20 December in Nature.
The hunt is far from over, however, not least because the new list of targets doesn’t match previous results.
FMRP is one of a couple thousand proteins that bind to strings of RNA and help translate them into protein. Identifying FMRP’s RNA targets may point to new treatments for both fragile X syndrome and for autism, researchers say.
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, and about one-third of people with the syndrome show features of autism.
Finding FMRP’s targets is proving difficult, however. The new study, led by Thomas Tuschl of Rockefeller University in New York, doesn’t entirely agree with previous work. Only about 20 percent of the FMRP targets identified in the Nature study overlap with the 842 targets identified in 2011 by Robert Darnell’s lab, also at Rockefeller.
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