Researchers from the research group in growth factors and cell differentiation at IDIBELL and the University of Barcelona (UB) have participated in an international study that has identified the genetic cause of developmental delay observed in Amish individuals in the USA. The research results have been published in the Journal of Medical Genetics.
Amish is a religious community known for a simple and traditional style of life and for its reluctance to adopt modern amenities and technologies. The IDIBELL-UB researcher José Luis Rosa explains that "in these communities there are high rates of inbreeding, making homozygous recessive diseases more frequent than in the general population".
Among the Amish community, the researchers have observed individuals with similar mental retardation observed in patients with Angelman syndrome: learning disabilities, speech impairment, movement disorders and characteristic behavioral patterns of hyperactivity and concentration. "We observed", explains Rosa, "that there must be a common genetic cause."
Genetic studies of fifteen Individuals of Old Order Amish Community in Ohio (USA) identified a mutation in HERC2 gene. The result is an unstable protein that does not function properly.
These findings not only will be useful to study the pathophysiology of the retardation observed among members of the Amish community, but also will be a new tool in the field of genetic counseling.
"Individuals from anywhere in the world that have similar symptoms to Angelman syndrome but do not have the genetic mutation associated with the disease and are diagnosed as Angelman-like, could have the same gene mutation in HERC 2 observed in Amish, which could provide an explanation for the disorder, and genetic counseling to their families", explains the researcher.
Currently, the team lead by José Luis Rosa is studying how this mutation works at molecular level and they are attempting to reverse in vitro the mutation in HERC2 and rescue the cell function. Rosa warns, however, "that we are very far from being able to apply a human gene therapy for this neurological disorder".
This study demonstrates for the first time the relationship netween the protein HERC2 and human diseases. Previously, the group of José Luis Rosa had described the relationship between a point mutation in the HERC1 gene and neurodegeneration in mice. "Overall," says the researcher, "these studies demonstrate an important role of HERC protein family" in the pathogenesis of neuronal disorders.
Harlalka G.V., Baple E.L., Cross H., Kühnle S., Cubillos-Rojas M.*, Matentzoglu K., Patton M.A., Wagner K., Coblentz R., Ford D.L., Mackay D.J., Chioza B.A., Scheffner M., Rosa J.L.* and Crosby A.H. “Mutation of HERC2 causes developmental delay with Angelman-like features”. Journal of MedicalGenetics (2013) Feb;50(2):65-73.
Arantxa Mena | EurekAlert!
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering