PTEN as a therapeutic target in neurodegenerative disorders. The tumor suppressor protein Phosphatase and Tensin Homolog deleted on Chromosome 10 (PTEN) is a member of the protein tyrosine phosphatase family that can negatively regulate the serine/threonine kinase Akt to exert its tumour suppressor function. In addition to its normal functions such as neuronal migration and neuronal size control, PTEN protein is involved in pathological processes surrounding neuronal injury such as those associated with brain ischemia, neurological and mental disorders. It has been shown that modulation of the PTEN/mTOR pathway promotes axon regeneration in the adult CNS. We have previously shown that down-regulating the expression of PTEN protects against ischaemic neuronal death in vitro and in vivo (Ning et al. 2014). Recently, we showed that PTEN knockdown via siRNA increases motor neuron survival in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Kirby et al. 2011) in vitro and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in vivo (Ning et al. 2010, Little et al., 2015). Our preliminary data show that the PTEN inhibitor, bpV, promotes cell survival in NSC34 G93A motor neuronal cell line. We have also showed that PTEN silencing increases cell survival in iPS-derived motor neurons from human fibroblasts (D-J Yang et al., 2014). Taken together, PTEN inhibition results in neuroprotective effects on motor neuron survival in vitro and in vivo. The outcome of our studies provide evidence that PTEN is potential therapeutic target for neuroprotection in neurodegenerative disorders. Literature review of PTEN signalling in neurodegeneration has been undertaken in the topic.
I graduated in Medicine from First Military Medical University (Southern Medical University) in China in 1985. I undertook my Specialist Training in Neurosurgery at Sun Yatsen University of Medical Science in China and got a M.Sc in Neurosurgery in 1991. I obtained my PhD in neuroscience at the Third Military Medical University in China In 1996 and was promoted to an associate professor in neurosurgery at Southern Medical University in China in 1997. Since 1999, I have undertaken full time research in neuroscience in the USA, Canada and the UK. I joined the University of Sheffield as a Lecturer in Translational neuroscience in 2006 and was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in Translational neuroscience in 2011. I have been closely involved in translational neuroscience research and teaching in motor neuron diseases.