An international team of researchers led by scientists from Rockefeller’s St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics and Infectious Diseases has now identified the defective gene responsible for this rare disorder. The findings, reported today in Science Express, may lead to new diagnostic tests and raises new questions about the role of this gene in the body’s protein-making machinery.
Medically known as isolated congenital asplenia (ICA), this condition has only been officially documented in less than 100 cases in the medical literature. Alexandre Bolze, a visiting student in the St. Giles lab, headed by Jean-Laurent Casanova, set out to identify the gene responsible for ICA. He and his colleagues conducted an international search for ICA patients, and identified 38 affected individuals from 23 families in North and South America, Europe and Africa.
Bolze and his team sequenced 23 exomes – all DNA of the genome that is coding for proteins – one from each family. After filtering two public databases of genetic information for gene variations in controls, the researchers were left with more than 4,200 possible genes. To narrow this list of candidate genes further, Bolze hypothesized that the disease-causing gene would be more frequently mutated in the ICA exomes compared to control exomes. He then compared the exome sequences of the 23 ICA kindreds with exomes sequenced in the Casanova lab from 508 patients with diseases other than those caused by bacterial infections. After applying statistical algorithms, Bolze found one gene with high significance: RPSA, which normally codes for a protein found in the cell’s protein-synthesizing ribosome.
“These results are very clear, as at least 50 percent of the patients carry a mutation in RPSA,” says Bolze. “Moreover, every individual carrying a coding mutation in this gene lacks a spleen.”
The findings, Bolze says, are surprising because the ribosome is present in every organ of the body, not just the spleen. “These results raise many questions. They open up many research paths to understand the specific role of this protein and of the ribosome in the development of organs in humans.”
Joseph Bonner | Newswise
Good preparation is half the digestion
15.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
How the gut ‘talks’ to brown fat
16.11.2018 | Technische Universität München
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...
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...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
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...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy