Alfred Goldberg, professor or cell biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, has received an MDA research grant totaling $410,777 over three years to continue research into the mechanisms underlying muscle atrophy, with particular relevance for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) and possibly inclusion-body myositis (IBM).
In his previous work, Goldberg has helped clarify the general mechanisms of muscle atrophy resulting from motor neuron disease, inactivity, various systemic diseases and myopathies.
Goldberg and his research team will focus now on mechanisms that normally inhibit a protein called FoxO, which has been implicated in stimulating muscle protein breakdown.
Of particular interest to the team are two proteins, PGC1-alpha and SIRT1, both of which previously have been shown to inhibit FoxO function.
Further studies of these and other proteins' protective mechanisms could suggest new ways of combating muscle degeneration and atrophy.
"Over the years, my laboratory has received generous support from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which has made possible a number of important findings about protein metabolism in muscle, and specifically about the mechanisms of muscle atrophy," Goldberg said. "My colleagues and I are very grateful for the support."
Funding for this MDA grant began August 1, 2011.
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