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For NF2, More Insight on Merlin Protein Wizardry

By April 8, 2010December 18th, 2023Awareness, Science & Research

We have recently reported updates on the underpinnings of merlin, the protein encoded by the NF2 gene. Understanding merlin’s normal function, and how this is disrupted in individuals with NF2, is important in order to figure out what drugs might be effective in treating NF2.  Now a new study* done if fruit flies shows that inside the cell merlin moves up and down on structures call microtubules, which form a scaffolding framework that controls changes in cell shape as well as function.  In a stunning finding the study shows that a single amino acid change – the tiniest substitution in how merlin is encoded – markedly inhibits this movement, apparently by interfering with phosphorylation of merlin. In addition when present, this dysfunctional protein also prevented healthy merlin protein from moving around.  It has been an interesting year already in reports on merlin function and we are delighted to have a session of the NF Conference focused on this topic – we look forward to some lively debate.