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Development of a high-throughput assay for measuring m6A demethylase activity

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41DA038990-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41DA038990
Amount: $192,702.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIDA
Solicitation Number: DA15-001
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-01-31
Small Business Information
1397 2ND AVE, #127
New York, NY 10021-4505
United States
DUNS: 079330386
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (212) 746-6246
Business Contact
Phone: (773) 980-9312
Research Institution
NEW YORK, NY 10065-4805
United States

 Nonprofit college or university

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant N methyladenosine m A was recently discovered to be a widespread base modification present in thousands of mammalian mRNAs In addition to its prevalence throughout the transcriptome researchers have also revealed that m A is a reversible modification suggesting that dynamic regulation of mRNA methylation is a novel and widespread RNA regulatory mechanism in cells Much of our understanding of the physiological importance of m A comes from studies of m A demethylases Indeed disruption of the m A demethylase FTO leads to dysfunction of dopaminergic pathways in the brain and an abnormal response to cocaine in mice Additionally FTO genetic mutations have been strongly associated with diseases including melanoma and breast cancer in humans Despite the importance of FTO for human health and disease tools which directly measure FTO activity have not been developed In this proposal we use a simple yet innovative RNA aptamer based strategy to develop assays which measure the activity of FTO and other m A demethylating enzymes The results of this Phase I SBIR will be the development of an optimized fluorescence assay for measuring m A demethylase activity and demonstration of the compatibility of this tool for high throughput screening of small molecule FTO inhibitors This application will enable us to develop the first commercially viable assay for measuring FTO activity which will fulfill an important need in the RNA methylation and FTO research communities Furthermore these experiments will enable the development of HTS assays for the identification of novel inhibitors of FTO and other RNA demethylase enzymes

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Disruption of the FTO gene has been strongly associated with a variety of human diseases and FTO was recently shown to influence dopaminergic pathways and the response to drugs of abuse Researchers recently discovered that FTO functions to demethylate the highly prevalent base modification N methyladenosine m A in mRNAs however tools for measuring FTO activity have not yet been developed The goal of this project is to develop an assay for measuring m A demethylase activity which can eventually be used in high throughput screens to identify small molecule inhibitors of FTO and other m A demethylases This tool will enable the discovery of drugs which target m A demethylating enzymes and will facilitate the development of novel therapies for human disease

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