Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover gene behind rare disorders

10.10.2012
International study with researchers at The Neuro reveals links with other neurodegenerative diseases

Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University working with a team at Oxford University have uncovered the genetic defect underlying a group of rare genetic disorders.

Using a new technique that has revolutionized genetic studies, the teams determined that mutations in the RMND1 gene were responsible for severe neurodegenerative disorders, in two infants, ultimately leading to their early death. Although the teams' investigations dealt with an infant, their discovery also has implications for understanding the causes of later-onset neurological diseases.

The RMND1 gene encodes a protein that is an important component of the machinery in mitochondria which generates the chemical energy that all cells need to function. Mutations in genes affecting mitochondrial function are common causes of neurological and neuromuscular disorders in adults and children. It is estimated that one newborn baby out of 5000 is at risk for developing one of these disorders. Mortality among such cases is very high.

"Mitochondria are becoming a focus of research because it's clear they're involved in neurodegenerative disorders in a fairly big way," says Dr. Eric Shoubridge, an internationally recognized specialist on mitochondrial diseases at The Neuro and lead author of the paper published in The American Journal of Human Genetics. "For instance, we're finding that dysfunctional mitochondria may be at the heart of adult-onset disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease."

Discovery of the mutations in the RMND1 gene involved using whole-exome sequencing at the McGill University and Genome Québec Innovation Centre. This technique allows all of the genes in the body that code for proteins to be sequenced and analyzed in a single experiment. At a cost of about $1000, whole-exome sequencing is much more economical than previous techniques in which lists of candidate genes had to be screened in the search for mutations. The technique is poised to change the face of genetic diagnosis, making testing more efficient and available.

"Parents who have had a child with a mitochondrial disorder and who are hesitating to have another child now have the possibility to know the cause of the disease. With genetic information, they have reproductive options like in vitro fertilization," says Dr. Shoubridge. The discovery of the RMND1 gene's role sheds light on disorders of mitochondrial energy metabolism, but therapies to alleviate or cure such disorders remain elusive. Dr. Shoubridge is hopeful that the discovery will encourage pharmaceutical interest. "Drug companies are starting to be interested in rare diseases and metabolic disorders like this. They're picking some genes as potential drug candidates."

The Neuro

The Neuro is an academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. As a research and teaching institute of McGill University, The Neuro is at the centre of the neuroscience mission of the McGill University Health Centre. The eminent neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield founded The Neuro in 1934. Since then, The Neuro has achieved international renown for its integration of research, outstanding patient care and advanced training. The Neuro has a world-class staff in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience, as well as in the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. For more information, please visit www.theneuro.com.

Anita Kar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>