A protein controls a type of glaucoma

A gene regulating protein may be responsible for an unusual case of glaucoma.

Exfoliation glaucoma is a rare type of glaucoma, and now scientists have evidence that that it can be controlled by a specific protein, according to Life Sciences.

The National Eye Institute granted $440,000  to Dr. Yutao Liu and his colleagues, so that they could further explore the relationship between the gene and proteins. Liu’s ultimate goal is to find a better treatment for this particular type of glaucoma, which is more aggressive and more difficult to treat than the primary open angle glaucoma, says Liu, vision scientist and human geneticist in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

“Variants of this gene are associated with the disease in every population we have studied worldwide,” Liu says. He adds that his team found out that the expression of LOXL1 elevated consistently early in the disease in every population.

High levels of the LOXL1 protein clog outflow tracts of the eye’s aqueous humor and are a constant in all of those patients. Still, there is conflicting laboratory evidence about the role of the gene because neither removing or overexpressing it accumulates the protein or increases high pressure inside the eye, at least in mics.Liu and his team are now looking at lncLOXL1, which regulates the gene’s expression.

Liu has so far discovered that the gene and lncLOXL1 correlate in both gene variations that the scientists have seen in the human populations tha my they have studied. They also have seen that as disease progresses, the gene’s expression goes down even as the protein rises, typically by about age 60.

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