National Glaucoma Research
Beatrice Yue, Ph.D.
University of Illinois Medical Center
Title: Fibril/Oligomer Formation by Optineurin In Vitro
Non-Technical Title: Can Optineurin Protein Aggregate to Form Toxic Amyloid-Like Fibrils or Oligomers?
Duration: July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2015
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $100,000
Protein aggregation into multimers, or the so-called amyloid fibers, is a hallmark in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. As glaucoma is considered to be an “ocular Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Yue and colleagues are interested in learning whether the optineurin protein, a product of glaucoma disease gene, is similarly capable of forming aggregates and causing problems, especially in situations where optineurin is found to be mutated. If so, Dr. Yue will find a way to minimize or prevent the aggregation for developing future therapies in the clinic.
Using modern biophysical and biochemical methods, Dr. Yue intends to find ways to minimize, prevent, or avert (rescue) the optineurin aggregation and toxicity.
When the study is complete, the field of glaucoma will be able to answer, for the first time, the following question: Can optineurin aggregate to form toxic amyloid fibrils or oligomers? The rescue experiments will provide important information for the development of therapies to prevent optineurin-related glaucoma.
Dr. Yue is the Thanis A. Field Professor of Ophthalmology and directs the Ocular Cell Biology Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine. She completed her doctoral studies at Washington University, St. Louis. Dr. Yue’s laboratory has worked on the biology of the trabecular meshwork in health and diseases. They are currently focusing on studies of glaucoma genes optineurin and myocilin. Her research program has been continually funded by the National Eye Institute for more than 25 years.