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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Martin Goldberg

Bikkul, Mehmet U., Clements, Craig S., Godwin, Lauren S., Goldberg, Martin W., Kill, Ian R. & Bridger, Joanna M. (2018). Farnesyltransferase inhibitor and rapamycin correct aberrant genome organisation and decrease DNA damage respectively, in Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome fibroblasts. Biogerontology 19(6): 579-602.

Author(s) from Durham


Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare and fatal premature ageing disease in children. HGPS is one of several progeroid syndromes caused by mutations in the LMNA gene encoding the nuclear structural proteins lamins A and C. In classic HGPS the mutation G608G leads to the formation of a toxic lamin A protein called progerin. During post-translational processing progerin remains farnesylated owing to the mutation interfering with a step whereby the farnesyl moiety is removed by the enzyme ZMPSTE24. Permanent farnesylation of progerin is thought to be responsible for the proteins toxicity. Farnesyl is generated through the mevalonate pathway and three drugs that interfere with this pathway and hence the farnesylation of proteins have been administered to HGPS children in clinical trials. These are a farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI), statin and a bisphosphonate. Further experimental studies have revealed that other drugs such as N-acetyl cysteine, rapamycin and IGF-1 may be of use in treating HGPS through other pathways. We have shown previously that FTIs restore chromosome positioning in interphase HGPS nuclei. Mis-localisation of chromosomes could affect the cells ability to regulate proper genome function. Using nine different drug treatments representing drug regimes in the clinic we have shown that combinatorial treatments containing FTIs are most effective in restoring specific chromosome positioning towards the nuclear periphery and in tethering telomeres to the nucleoskeleton. On the other hand, rapamycin was found to be detrimental to telomere tethering, it was, nonetheless, the most effective at inducing DNA damage repair, as revealed by COMET analyses.