PerspectiveCell Biology

Clogging information flow in ALS

Science  05 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6201, pp. 1118-1119
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259461

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Summary

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that causes a progressive loss of motor neurons, leading to paralysis and death typically within 2 to 5 years of onset. There are no cures and few treatments. ALS shares some genetic and pathological overlap with another neurodegenerative disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which causes changes to personality and language. Mutations in the gene called chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) are the most common genetic cause of both ALS and FTD. On pages 1139 and 1192 of this issue, Kwon et al. (1) and Mizielinska et al. (2), respectively, describe how C9orf72 mutations might cause neurodegeneration.