Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover gene mutations associate with a chronic pain syndrome

27.09.2005


Studies of mutation may lead to better understanding of septin proteins, fillaments that play a role in cell structure and division



In a significant advance toward understanding a perplexing and painful neurological disorder, an international team of researchers has discovered gene mutations associated with an inherited chronic pain and weakness syndrome known as hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (also called HNA). No treatment is known for this disabling condition, which short-circuits a peripheral nerve center called the brachial plexus, a network of over 100,000 nerves, that branches from the spinal cord to supply muscular function and sensation to the shoulders, arms, and hands.

HNA may first appear in the childhood or teen years, and lead to recurring episodes of severe, sudden onset pain in the arms and shoulders as well as weakness, loss of sensation, and muscle wasting. Episodes are often triggered by an infection, an immunization, childbirth, or overworking the arms and shoulders. Nerve inflammation and changes in the blood suggest that problems with the person’s immune response are contributing to the episode. The on again/off again course of the condition, and the environmental triggers, are unusual among inherited nerve disorders.


An associated aspect of the disorder in some individuals is facial features -- a long, slender face and narrow, close-set eyes slanting upward -- reminiscent of portraits by the early 20th-century Italian painter Modigliani, according to Phillip F. Chance, MD, professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, whose laboratory first located the gene for this disorder to chromosome 17 in 1996.

Twenty-seven medical scientists at universities in Germany, Belgium, the United States, Finland, and Spain conducted the research to find the specific gene responsible for HNA. The lead authors of the study, which appears in the Sept. 25 edition of Nature Genetics, include Dr. Gregor Kuhlenbaumer of the University of Munster, Dr. Vincent Timmerman of the University of Antwerp, and Dr. Mark C. Hannibal and Dr. Phillip Chance, both from the Division of Genetics and Developmental Medicine at the University of Washington.

By studying several multigenerational families who had several relatives with HNA, the researchers identified mutations in a gene named septin-9 ( known as SEPT9). Cells from a variety of life forms, ranging from yeast to fruit flies to humans, contain septins. Septins form protein filaments that provide the internal scaffolding of cells, and play key roles in the process by which cells divide. Out-of-control septins are implicated in certain abnormal cell divisions that lead to tumor formation, including breast cancer. Cells depleted of SEPT9 often fail to complete normal cell division. HNA is the first genetic disease found to be caused by a mutation in a gene of the septin family.

According to the authors of the SEPT9 gene mutations study, SEPT9 has particular structures that distinguish it from all other septins, but the significance and function of these structures is as yet unknown. Future research on the SEPT9 gene and its mutations may lead to a better understanding of the normal function of the gene and its protein products. Scientists also hope to learn how the mutated gene contributes to the development of specific facial features before birth and is later triggered to produce the nerve disorder, and why the disease goes through exacerbations and remissions.

Leila Gray | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>