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Canadian researchers discover gene related to the appearance of aging
Date:7/15/2009

HALIFAX, July 15 /PRNewswire/ - Scientists in Atlantic Canada have found a gene that may play a role in skin aging. Researchers were investigating the genetic cause of a rare disorder known as cutis laxa type 2 (CL2), which causes skin on the hands, feet and face to be loose and older looking, as well as growth and developmental delays including effects on the brain. In the process, researchers found some interesting correlations with the synthesis of proline, a chemical associated with skin and joint health.

The findings are published in the current online issue of American Journal of Human Genetics (www.cell.com/AJHG), and are part of the Atlantic Medical Genetic and Genomics Initiative (AMGGI), an ambitious, multi-partner gene-discovery project, managed by Genome Atlantic, and funded by Genome Canada/Genome Atlantic, Capital Health, IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Research Innovation Trust, Dalhousie Medical Research Fund, Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and others as listed at www.amggi.ca.

Several Maritime Canadian families with CL2 were identified by clinicians at the IWK Health Centre's Maritime Medical Genetics service. Through genomic research, scientists were able to identify the gene responsible for CL2 in these patients, citing an interruption of the metabolism of the amino acid, proline. The gene, pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase 1, carries out the final step of proline synthesis.

Proline is a major component of connective tissue and skin proteins, collagen and elastin. It can be created by the body, and is also found in our diets. Some skin creams, cosmetics and vitamin supplements already include proline, touting its health benefits.

However, proline is not completely understood. Researchers know that it helps make 'kinks' in protein chains, critical for correct folding of t
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SOURCE Genome Atlantic
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