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Drosophila drug screen for fragile X syndrome finds promising compounds and potential drug targets
Date:3/9/2008

d with glutamate. In addition, each well contained one compound from a library of 2,000 drugs and small molecules. Using this screening method, the scientists uncovered nine molecules that reversed the lethal effects of glutamate.

The three top identified compounds were known activators of GABA, a neural pathway already known to inhibit the effects of glutamate. In the study, GABA reversed all the features of fragile X syndrome in the fruit flies, including deficits in the brain's primary learning center and behavioral deficits. The screening also identified other neural pathways that may have a parallel role in fragile X syndrome and could be targets for drug therapy.

"Our discovery of glutamate toxicity in the Drosophila model of fragile X syndrome allowed us to develop this new screen for potential drug targets," notes Dr. Warren. "We believe this is the first chemical genetic screen for fragile X syndrome, and it highlights the general potential of Drosophila screens for drug development.

"Most importantly, it identifies several small molecules that significantly reverse multiple abnormal characteristics of FMR1 deficiency. It also reveals additional pathways and relevant drug targets. These findings open the door to development of effective new therapies for fragile X syndrome."


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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

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