Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene for Joubert syndrom with excessive brain folds discovered by UCSD researchers and Harvard team

21.10.2004



Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have discovered the gene for a form of Joubert Syndrome, a condition present before birth that affects an area of the brain controlling balance and coordination in about 1 in 10,000 individuals. Their study, published in the November 2004 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics*, pointed to mutations in a gene called AHI1 that lead to the production of a protein the scientists named Jouberin.

Separate research by a team from Harvard Medical School concurrently identified the same gene in a paper published in the November 2004 issue of the journal Nature Genetics.** Both the UCSD and Harvard studies were published online prior to the print publications in November.

The AHI1 gene mutation is responsible for a form of Joubert Syndrome manifested by absence of part of the cerebellum, the part of the brain controlling balance, and by excessive folding in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain controlling consciousness and thought. The results from both UCSD and Harvard involved a gene-by-gene search of chromosome 6 DNA from three families studied by UCSD and three separate families studied by Harvard. Researchers believe the disorder linked to chromosome 6 is the most common of the three known forms of Joubert Syndrome.



“This is a tremendously exciting finding because it is the first genetic defect clearly associated with this condition. Although Joubert Syndrome is relatively rare, we think that the genes causing this condition are going to underlie more common childhood brain and behavioral abnormalities, such as autism, mental retardation, and poor coordination” said the UCSD paper’s senior author, Joseph Gleeson, M.D., assistant professor of neurosciences at UCSD and Children’s Hospital San Diego.

This identification caps a five-year hunt for the first gene for Joubert syndrome. The Gleeson team initially recruited families in the U.S., but after initial attempts, shifted focus to families in the Middle East, where inbreeding (i.e. first-cousin marriages) are common and families commonly have 8-12 children. “These populations allowed us to better exploit the work of the human genome project to arrive at the chromosomal hot-spot,” he said.

Noting that many children with Joubert Syndrome also have autism, Gleeson explained that “if we can understand how the AHI1 gene works and how its dysfunction leads to disordered brain development, it can tell us something about the biology underlying a common disorder like autism.”

Also important are the implications for genetic testing, Gleeson added. “We receive frequent calls from parents who already have a child with Joubert Syndrome, and who want more children but are naturally concerned about having other children with major handicaps,” Gleeson said. “We also hear from obstetricians asking about genetic testing when they find a child on routine prenatal ultrasound whose brain is underdeveloped.”

Prior to this finding, there was very little that could be offered in terms of genetic evaluation, but the current findings are a step in the right direction, Gleeson said, adding that “although there will ultimately be several more genes identified that can lead to the various forms of Joubert Syndrome, our discovery will help those individuals with the form that includes excessive cerebral cortex brain folding. Beyond that, we are very interested in studying this new gene in a whole host of childhood brain disorders”

In addition to Gleeson, authors of the paper were first author Tracy Dixon-Salazar, B.S., Jennifer L. Silhavy, M.S., Sara E. Marsh, M.S., Carrie M. Louie, B.S., Lesley C. Scott, M.S., UCSD Department of Neurosciences; Aithala Gururaj, M.D., Lihadh Al-Gazali, M.D. and Laslo Sztriha, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, United Arab Emirates University; Asma A. Al-Tawari, M.D., Neurology Department, Al Sabah Hospital, Kuwait; and Hulya Kayerili M.D., Prenatal Diagnosis Research Center, University of Istanbul.

The study was funded by the Joubert Syndrome Foundation and by grants from the March of Times and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Sue Pondrom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>