Therapeutic gene silencing strategies for polyglutamine disorders
Dominantly inherited polyglutamine disorders are chronic neurodegenerative diseases therapeutically amenable to gene-specific silencing strategies. Several compelling nucleic acid-based approaches have recently been developed to block the expression of mutant proteins and prevent toxic neurodegenerative sequelae. With such approaches, avoiding potential side effects caused by the concomitant ablation of the normal protein is an important objective. Therefore, allele-specific gene silencing is highly desirable; however, retaining wild type function is complex given that the common CAG mutation cannot be directly targeted, and might not be necessary or justifiable in all cases. Insights from polyglutamine gene function studies and the further development of allele-specific and other gene silencing methodologies will be important to determine the optimal therapeutic strategy for each polyglutamine disorder.
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