Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Identification of genes causing defects in vitamin B12 metabolism

10.12.2002


Investigators at the University of Calgary and McGill University have identified genes that underlie two severe diseases of vitamin B12 metabolism. The two diseases, known as the cblA and cblB forms of methylmalonic aciduria, may produce brain damage, mental retardation and even death if not detected in infancy or early childhood.



Melissa Dobson, a graduate student at the University of Calgary working with Roy Gravel PhD in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is lead author of two papers reporting the identification of the two genes. The genes were first identified in bacteria and then traced to their human counterparts. She credits the human genome project with her breakthrough. "We can now compare human and bacterial DNA sequences to find human genes," states Dobson. "This was made possible by the availability of the sequence of the complete human genome."

To prove whether she and colleague Daniel Leclerc, PhD, had identified the correct genes, she approached her McGill collaborators, Dr. David Rosenblatt and Dr. Thomas Hudson, for help in screening patients. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has a world-renowned diagnostic facility and cell bank for patients with genetic diseases involving vitamin B12. Using Genome Quebec’s MUHC -based sequencing centre, Dobson and her colleagues confirmed the presence of mutations in DNA from patients with the two diseases.


"We have identified two different genes that are critical to the processing of vitamin B12 by finding mutations in patients who have particular forms of methylmalonic aciduria," according to Dobson. Methylmalonic acid is a chemical intermediate in the breakdown of proteins and other substances. It accumulates in the body and is excreted in large amounts in the urine because the blocks in the processing of vitamin B12 prevent its metabolism.

Identifying the genes that cause cblA and cblB represents a landmark breakthrough for patients suffering from both forms of the disease. "The discovery will make possible DNA testing for carriers and early prenatal diagnosis. This is important because treatment can be started during pregnancy," says Rosenblatt. Fortunately, many patients can be treated with high dose vitamin B12 supplements and a diet that is low in protein.

"This research will lead to better understanding of the disorder and provides hope to those families living with this disease," adds Kathy Stagni, Executive Director of the Organic Acidemia Association, a nonprofit organization that supports families with inherited metabolic disorders.

This research is published in the November 26 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and the December 15 issue of Human Molecular Genetics.

This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Institutes of Health (USA), and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

The scientists are members of the Medical Genetics Group of the CIHR and the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network. Based at McGill, the Medical Genetics Group has existed since 1972, a record for sustained federal funding for such research.

Christine Zeindler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>