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Scientists discover gene mutation responsible for hereditary neuroendocrine tumor
Date:7/23/2009

and likely performs similar essential cellular functions in both yeast and humans. Rutter and his colleagues discovered that, in yeast, the Sdh5 protein is needed for the SDH complex to function normally. They also found that Sdh5 is required for activation of another protein called Sdh1 that is also part of the SDH complex.

Studies in Humans

"The amino acid sequence of yeast Sdh5 is 44 percent identical to its human counterpart, which we've named hSDH5. This gave us some confidence that the Sdh5 functions we discovered in yeast would also be carried out by human hSdh5," explains Rutter. "Previous genetic studies have shown that the hereditary paragangliomas PGL1, PGL3, and PGL4 are associated with mutations causing loss of SDH activity. Although the gene for PGL2 had not been identified, we knew that it was located on the same chromosome as the hSDH5 gene."

Rutter and his colleagues sequenced the hSDH5 gene in three individuals with PGL2 from a previously described Dutch lineage. They identified a single DNA nucleotide change which resulted in a mutation in the most conserved region of the protein. Of the 45 individuals within the affected lineage who inherited the mutation, 33 have developed PGL2, providing strong evidence that hSDH5 is the PGL2 gene. The seven individuals who inherited the mutation from their mothers are unaffected, suggesting an inheritance pattern that is specific to the parent of origin.

The researchers also discovered that, as in yeast, the inactivation of hSDH5 dramatically impaired the activity of the SDH complex, which was decreased by approximately 95% in tumors from three patients with PGL2.

Implications on Genetic Testing

The identification of hSDH5 as the PGL2 gene has potential clinical implications for patients with familial PGL syndromes. Genetic testing is suggested for the management of PGL, even when it does not seem to be inherited, in order to identify indivi
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Contact: Kathy Wilets
kathy.wilets@hci.utah.edu
801-587-4770
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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