Newsroom

Protein fights traffic jams in ALS cells

February 17, 2016



Usually a cell works like a well-run city, but some diseases can gum up the works. One example is a form of the degenerative disease ALS caused by a mutation of the VAPB gene. This mutant gene produces abnormal proteins that stick together and cause traffic jams in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the place where certain proteins are made and shuttled to other parts of the cell. These traffic jams stress the ER, which triggers cell death in neurons that control muscle movement. Now, Dr. Johnny Ngseee and Angie Darbyson have discovered that a protein called ORP3 can act like a traffic cop in cell models of ALS, reducing the jams and restoring the flow of proteins. If it works the same way in animal studies, this discovery could possibly lead to drugs that could delay the onset of symptoms in this form of ALS. See Experimental Cell Research for details.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

About The Ottawa Hospital


The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

For further information, please contact


Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253
jganton@ohri.ca