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Gene For Devastating Kidney Disease Discovered
Date:12/21/2009

t," researchers can then look nearby to find the disease gene.

Using this technique, Brown and colleagues homed in on a region of chromosome 14q. By sequencing multiple genes in this region, they detected nine different mutations, all of them in a gene called INF2. They then sequenced INF2 in 91 additional families. In all, they found INF2 mutations in 11 of 93 families.

There have been a few descriptions of other genes that result in FSGS, but Brown and colleagues think INF2 is an important find. Mutations on this gene seem to affect larger numbers of families than those on previously discovered genes, and may be more relevant in understanding how the disease originates physiologically.

"The discovery that multiple families have mutations in INF2 is exciting and not only furthers our understanding of FSGS, but also tells us that INF2 and the pathways in which it is involved are important for normal kidney function," says Brown. "FSGS is a frustrating disease for clinicians, as we have little understanding of the biology and poor treatment options. We hope that further scientific work on INF2 will lead to better options."

INF2 encodes a protein that regulates actin, a protein vital to creating and maintaining the architecture of the cell. Both actin and INF2 are abundant in podocytes, the kidney cells that are crucial to filtering toxins. These cells are structurally complex, with extensions that interlock with those of other cells. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that disruption of INF2 in podocytes compromises their structure and, hence, their function.

In 2007 alone, 1,117 kidney transplants were performed on FSGS patients, according to NephCure. "To make matters worse, many patients have recurrence of the disease soon after transplant," says William Harmon, MD, chief of Children's Division of Nephrology. "First it ruins your native ki
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SOURCE Children's Hospital Boston
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