Scientists have known for two decades that Huntington’s disease, a fatal brain disorder, is caused by a mutant gene that’s expanded to include DNA repeats. But it’s not clear how the gene produces the disease symptoms. MIT biological engineers, including MIT grad student Christopher Ng and professors Ernest Fraenkel and David Housman, recently published a paper that comes closer to answering that question. They found that the protein encoded by the Huntington’s gene changes the chemical structure of genes involved in brain function. Disruptions to these genes could cause neurodegenerative symptoms.
Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.