Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Found in Amish a genetic mutation causing mental retardation very similar to Angelman syndrome

13.03.2013
It is the first time that associates a mutation in HERC2 with human disease

Researchers from the research group in growth factors and cell differentiation at IDIBELL and the University of Barcelona (UB) have participated in an international study that has identified the genetic cause of developmental delay observed in Amish individuals in the USA. The research results have been published in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Amish community

Amish is a religious community known for a simple and traditional style of life and for its reluctance to adopt modern amenities and technologies. The IDIBELL-UB researcher José Luis Rosa explains that "in these communities there are high rates of inbreeding, making homozygous recessive diseases more frequent than in the general population".

Among the Amish community, the researchers have observed individuals with similar mental retardation observed in patients with Angelman syndrome: learning disabilities, speech impairment, movement disorders and characteristic behavioral patterns of hyperactivity and concentration. "We observed", explains Rosa, "that there must be a common genetic cause."

Genetic studies of fifteen Individuals of Old Order Amish Community in Ohio (USA) identified a mutation in HERC2 gene. The result is an unstable protein that does not function properly.

Genetic counseling

These findings not only will be useful to study the pathophysiology of the retardation observed among members of the Amish community, but also will be a new tool in the field of genetic counseling.

"Individuals from anywhere in the world that have similar symptoms to Angelman syndrome but do not have the genetic mutation associated with the disease and are diagnosed as Angelman-like, could have the same gene mutation in HERC 2 observed in Amish, which could provide an explanation for the disorder, and genetic counseling to their families", explains the researcher.

Currently, the team lead by José Luis Rosa is studying how this mutation works at molecular level and they are attempting to reverse in vitro the mutation in HERC2 and rescue the cell function. Rosa warns, however, "that we are very far from being able to apply a human gene therapy for this neurological disorder".

This study demonstrates for the first time the relationship netween the protein HERC2 and human diseases. Previously, the group of José Luis Rosa had described the relationship between a point mutation in the HERC1 gene and neurodegeneration in mice. "Overall," says the researcher, "these studies demonstrate an important role of HERC protein family" in the pathogenesis of neuronal disorders.

Article reference

Harlalka G.V., Baple E.L., Cross H., Kühnle S., Cubillos-Rojas M.*, Matentzoglu K., Patton M.A., Wagner K., Coblentz R., Ford D.L., Mackay D.J., Chioza B.A., Scheffner M., Rosa J.L.* and Crosby A.H. “Mutation of HERC2 causes developmental delay with Angelman-like features”. Journal of MedicalGenetics (2013) Feb;50(2):65-73.

Arantxa Mena | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>