Public Release: 

NYUAD study suggests that 'Actin' is critical in genome regulation during nerve cell formation

Research holds potential for the development of personalized medicines

New York University

(December 31, 2018--Abu Dhabi) -- A new NYU Abu Dhabi study suggests for the first time that Actin, which is a cytoskeleton protein found in the cell, is critical to regulating the genome - the genetic material of an organism - during the formation of "neurons" or nerve cells. The study was published today in PLOS Genetics.

Led by NYU Abu Dhabi Associate Professor of Biology Piergiorgio Percipalle, along with other researchers, this study involved converting "fibroblasts" - cells that maintain connective tissues - with impaired actin expression into neurons in order to identify the role of Actin in neurogenesis. The implication of the methodology together with the availability of fibroblasts not expressing actin is far reaching. It will enable researchers to understand novel concepts in genome regulation and, in the long term, model diseases to identify druggable targets.

"The technology we've applied in my lab has given us the opportunity to identify novel factors and pathways involved in the regulation of the mammalian genome during neurogenesis - the formation of neurons - and has a lot of potential for the development of personalized medicines," says Percipalle, the study's lead researcher.

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About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity's shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi's high-achieving students have come from 120 nations and speak over 120 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in

New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.

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