Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCSF-led team discovers cause of rare disease

19.12.2011
Childhood disorder called PKD linked to genetic mutations

A large, international team of researchers led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has identified the gene that causes a rare childhood neurological disorder called PKD/IC, or "paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia with infantile convulsions," a cause of epilepsy in babies and movement disorders in older children.

The study involved clinics in cities as far flung as Tokyo, New York, London and Istanbul and may improve the ability of doctors to diagnose PKD/IC, and it may shed light on other movement disorders, like Parkinson's disease.

The culprit behind the disease turns out to be a mysterious gene found in the brain called PRRT2. Nobody knows what this gene does, and it bears little resemblance to anything else in the human genome.

"This is both exciting and a little bit scary," said Louis Ptacek, MD, who led the research. Ptacek is the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Discovering the gene that causes PKD/IC will help researchers understand how the disease works. It gives doctors a potential new way of definitively diagnosing the disease by looking for genetic mutations in the gene. The work may also shed light on other conditions that are characterized by movement disorders, including possibly Parkinson's disease.

"Understanding the underlying biology of this disease is absolutely going to help us understand movement disorders in general," Ptacek said.

About the Disease

PKD/IC strikes infants with epileptic seizures that generally disappear within a year or two. However, the disease often reemerges later in childhood as a movement disorder in which children suffer sudden, startling, involuntary jerks when they start to move. Even thinking about moving is enough to cause some of these children to jerk involuntarily.

The disease is rare, and Ptacek estimates strikes about one out of every 100,000 people in the United States. At the same time, the disease is classified as "idiopathic"—which is just another way of saying we don't really understand it, Ptacek said.

If you take an image of the brain by MRI, patients with the disease all look completely normal. There are no injuries, tumors or other obvious signs that account for the movements—as is often the case with movement disorders. Work with patients in the clinic had suggested a genetic cause, however.

"Sometimes we trace the family tree, and lo and behold, there is a history of it," said Ptacek. In the last several years, he and his colleagues have developed a large cohort of patients whose families have a history of the disease.

The new research was based on a cohort of 103 such families that included one or more members with the disease. Genetic testing of these families led to the researchers to mutations in the PRRT2 gene, which cause the proteins the gene encodes to shorten or disappear entirely in the brain and spinal cord, where they normally reside.

One possible explanation for the resulting neurological symptoms, the researchers found, relates to a loss of neuronal regulation. When the genetic mutations cause the gene products to go missing, the nerve cells where they normally appear may become overly excited, firing too frequently or strongly and leading to the involuntary movements.

The article, "Mutations in the Gene PRRT2 Cause Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia with Infantile Convulsions" by Hsien-Yang Lee, Yong Huang, Nadine Bruneau, Patrice Roll, Elisha D.O. Roberson, Mark Hermann, Emily Quinn, James Maas, Robert Edwards, Tetsuo Ashizawa, Betul Baykan, Kailash Bhatia, Susan Bressman, Michiko K. Bruno, Ewout R. Brunt, Roberto Caraballo, Bernard Echenne, Natalio Fejerman, Steve Frucht, Christina A. Gurnett, Edouard Hirsch, Henry Houlden, Joseph Jankovic, Wei-Ling Lee, David R. Lynch, Shehla Mohammed, Ulrich Meuller, Mark P. Nespeca, David Renner, Jacques Rochette, Gabrielle Rudolf, Shinji Saiki, Bing-Wen Soong, Kathryn J. Swoboda, Sam Tucker, Nicholas Wood, Michael Hanna, Anne M. Bowcock, Pierre Szepetowski, Ying-Hui Fu and Louis J. Ptacek appears in the January 26, 2012 issue of Cell Reports. The article can be accessed online at: http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247%2811%2900006-4

In addition to UCSF, authors on this study are affiliated with the Université de la Méditerranée in Marseille, France; Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO; the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL; Istanbul University in Turkey; University College London; Beth Israel Medical Center in New York; the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, HI; the University of Groningen in the Netherlands; Juan P. Garrahan Pediatric Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hôpital Gui de Chauliac in Montpellier, France; Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York; Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg in France; Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Guy's Hospital in London; Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen, Germany; Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego; the university of California, San Diego; the University of Utah in Salt Lake City; the Université de Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens, France; Kanazawa Medical University in Ishikawa, Japan; the National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan; Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan; the International Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia/Infantile Convulsions Collaborative Working Group; and the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

This work was funded by the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia Parkinson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Sandler Neurogenetics Fund, ANR, INSERM and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study shows nanoscale pendulum coupling
05.07.2019 | University of Barcelona

nachricht New unprinting method can help recycle paper and curb environmental costs
26.06.2019 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>