Translation elongation factors and the selective vulnerability of motor neurons

About the project

We work on mouse mutants in the gene encoding translation elongation factor eEF1A2 that develop an aggressive, early onset form of motor neuron degeneration. Neurons switch off the closely related factor eEF1A1 in early postnatal development.

We have shown that eEF1A1 enables neurons to respond to heat shock, but that eEF1A2, the form expressed in adult motor neurons, does not share this function. We are interested in trying to find ways in which we can exploit this knowledge of neuronal translation elongation factor switching to create motor neurons that can respond more robustly to cellular stress. We use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in both mice and cells to address these questions.


MND Scotland


Vera M, Pani B, Griffiths LA, Muchardt C, Abbott CM, Singer RH, Nudler E
The translation elongation factor eEF1A1 couples transcription to translation during heat shock response
Elife. 2014 Sep 16;3:e03164.
Davies, F, Hope, J, McLachlan, F, Nunez, F, Doig, J, Bengani, H, Smith, C & Abbott, C
'Biallelic mutations in the gene encoding eEF1A2 cause seizures and sudden death in F0 mice'
Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 5;7:46019
2017 Apr 05

Primary location


Principal Investigator

Other people involved

Faith Davies
Colin Smith
Evgeny Nudler