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Inhibiting NAT10 provides therapeutic target for HGPS

Scientists have identified a potential therapeutic target in the devastating genetic disease Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome…

HGPS

Scientists have identified a potential therapeutic target in the devastating genetic disease Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), which is characterised by premature ageing.

The study – funded by the MRC, Wellcome and Cancer Research UK – provides preclinical data showing that chemical inhibition or genetic deregulation of the enzyme N-acetyltransferase 10 (NAT10) leads to significant health and lifespan gains in a mouse model of HGPS.

By screening candidate molecules for an effect on nuclear membranes in human HGPS patient-derived cells, the authors have previously identified a small molecule called remodelling as an effective ameliorative agent. They then identified which component of the cells was being affected by remodelling: an enzyme with a variety of cell functions called NAT10.

The aim of the new study was to take these findings into a mouse model with the same genetic defect as HGPS patients, to see whether inhibiting NAT10 – either chemically by administration of remodelling, or genetically by engineering reduced production of NAT10 – could ameliorate the disease.

The results show that these approaches significantly improved the health of the diseased mice, increased their lifespan, and reduced the effects of the HGPS mutation across a variety of measures in body tissues and at the cellular level.

Senior author Professor Steve Jackson from the Gurdon Institute and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, commented: “We’re very excited by the possibility that drugs targeting NAT10 may, in future, be tested on people suffering from HGPS. I like to describe this approach as a ‘re-balancing towards the healthy state’.

“We first studied the cell biology to understand how the disease affects cells, and then used those findings to identify ways to re-balance the defect at the whole-organism level. Our findings in mice suggest a therapeutic approach to HGPS and other premature ageing diseases.”

The study has been published in Nature Communications.

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