Call for Proposals

Purpose

The Collaborative Center for X-Linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism (CCXDP) supports an international consortium of scientists, clinicians, and patient advocates working together to advance research and treatments for X- Linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism (XDP), a debilitating neurodegenerative disease caused by a transposable element.

Three grant mechanisms are offered

In addition to the amounts listed below, awards will provide 10% indirect costs to recipient institutions.

Investigator Awards

2 years, up to $250,000/year in direct costs

Exploratory Pilot Grants

1 year, up to $100,000 in direct costs

Postdoctoral fellowships

2 years, $75,000/year in direct costs

Background

XDP is a neurodegenerative disorder endemic to the Philippines. CCXDP-funded research studies have shown that XDP is most likely caused by a disease-specific SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA)-type retrotransposon insertion in an intron of the human TAF1 gene. The SVA contains a hexameric sequence (CCCTCT)n, the length of which is polymorphic among patients and inversely correlated to age of disease onset. The insertion results in aberrant TAF1 mRNA splicing and partial intron retention which decreases levels of the full-length transcript. The neuropathology of XDP has not yet been fully defined, but previous studies have reported a progressive loss of striatal medium spiny neurons in the brains of individuals with XDP.

Available Resources

CCXDP has generated biospecimens and reagents which are available for research studies, including:

  • DNA from XDP patients and unaffected relatives
  • Fibroblasts, lymphoblasts, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from XDP patients and unaffected relatives
  • Post-mortem human brain tissue from XDP patients

Click here for a complete list of available resources and details about acquiring reagents.

Research Objectives

CCXDP welcomes applications from investigators in all disciplines proposing bold and rigorous approaches to the study of XDP. We encourage proposals involving collaborative studies, which can include investigators at different institutions, as well as ones which leverage existing resources. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Functional analyses of TAF1 protein, including but not limited to mechanisms of gene regulation and/or interactions with partner proteins, with specific emphasis on how these functions may be affected in XDP cells.
  • Studies of the potential role of glial cells in XDP pathogenesis.
  • Screening projects that develop models and/or assays to seek compounds that modulate XDP-related phenotypes, with emphasis on opportunities for drug repurposing.
  • Projects that leverage machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and analyze phenotypes in XDP model systems.
  • Molecular studies of the XDP-specific SVA element, including but not limited to potential regulation by host cell factors, RNA transcription, and/or DNA replication dynamics.
  • Comparative analyses to identify cellular mechanisms that may be shared by XDP and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Application Timeline

Letters of intent due by 5pm EST

September 15, 2023

Letters of intent due by 5pm EST

Full applications due by 5pm EST

November 15, 2023

Full applications due by 5pm EST

Funding decisions announced

November 15, 2023

Funding decisions announced

Funding decisions announced

April 2024

Funding decisions announced

Anticipated project start

July 2024

Anticipated project start

Application Instructions

  1. Complete the initial inquiry on the CCXDP grant portal here.
  2. Submit Letter of intent (LOI) in grants portal by Sept 15th – Submission of an LOI is required.  Each will be reviewed and an invitation to apply will be sent if approved.
  3. Submit full grant application in grants portal by November 15th. To preview application instructions and required documents, see below.
Additional Application Resources

For additional information or questions, contact Dr. Amy Alessi, CCXDP Program Director, at aalessi@mgb.org