Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a paralytic disorder caused by degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Identification of mutations in the gene for Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) in a subset of ALS families made it possible to develop a transgenic mouse model of ALS and to investigate its pathogenesis. These investigations suggest that mutant SOD1 acts through a toxic gain of function which may involve generation of free radicals. Conformational change in the mutant SOD1 protein, especially the distortion of the 'rim' of the electrostatic guidance channel may be central to this toxic gain of function and to the pathogenesis of ALS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology