Unc-74 Gene Encodes a Novel Transmembrane Thioredoxin Domain Containing Protein, which Is Required for Acetylcholine Receptor Formation

Ligand-gated ion channels are multimeric protein complexes, whose function depends on precise and correct ordered assembly of individual subunits. Using the nematode C. elegans as a model system for acetylcholine (ACh) gated ion channel formation, Dr. Jorgensen and colleague have identified a gene (unc-74), which protein product (a homologue of TMX3, a transmembrane thioredoxin domain containing protein) is required for trafficking the ACh-gated ion channel subunits to the synapses. Homologues of unc-74 are found in other metazoans, suggesting a conserved functional role in the formation of specific nicotinic ACh receptors.

Blocking unc-74/ TMX3 function could be used to examine pathways of ACh-gated ion channel formation. Mutant animals could also be used to eliminate a specific ACh-gated ion channel, allowing other channels to be directly studied.
Acetylcholine gated ion channels are also receptors for nicotine and blockage of unc-74 / TMX3 could be utilized in treatment of nicotine addiction.

Stage of Development
A PCT patent application has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is pending.
This technology is available for developmental research support/licensing under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.

Additional Info
*Williams DC, Boulin T, Ruaud AF, Jorgensen EM and Bessereau JL (2005). Characterization of Mos1-Mediated Mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans - A Method for the Rapid Identification of Mutated Genes. Genetics, 169(3): 1779�1785.

Inventor(s): Daniel Williams, Erik Jorgensen

Type of Offer: Licensing

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