12:52 PM
 | 
Jun 28, 2018
 |  BC Innovations  |  Emerging Company Profile

Stress relief for neurons

How Aquinnah is preventing stress granule formation to slow the progression of neurodegenerative disease

Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals is developing disease-modifying therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting the formation of stress granules that promote protein aggregation in neurons.

Stress granules are protein-RNA complexes assembled by RNA-binding proteins that form transiently in neurons in response to stress, sequestering non-essential RNA so the cell can focus on transcription of cytoprotective proteins at the expense of normal neuronal function. Ordinarily, the granules degrade without lasting effects. But CSO Benjamin Wolozin told BioCentury that under conditions of chronic stress the granules persist, promoting the formation of protein aggregates such as tau and TDP-43 that are hallmarks of AD and ALS, respectively.

“What these stress granules show is that the disease process arises directly out of the stress response,” said Wolozin, who is also a professor...

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