Navigation Links
Genetic discovery in Montreal for a rare disease in Newfoundland
Date:9/6/2012

This press release is available in French.

Researchers from the Guy Rouleau Laboratory affiliated with the CHUM Research Centre and the CHUSainte-Justine Research Centre have discovered the genetic cause of a rare disease reported only in patients originating from Newfoundland: hereditary spastic ataxia (HSA).

This condition is characterized by lower-limb spasticity (or stiffness) and ataxia (lack of coordination), the latter leading to speech and swallowing problems, and eye movement abnormalities. The disease is not deadly, but people start developing gait problems between 10 to 20 years of age, walk with a cane in their 30s, and in the most severe cases, are wheel-chair bound in their 50s. It has been shown that HSA is transmitted from the affected parent to the child in a dominant fashion, which means there is a 50% chance of the child having the mutation.

History of a discovery: collaboration between the University of Montreal and Memorial University

Researchers and clinicians from Memorial University (St. John's, Newfoundland) contacted Dr. Rouleau, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of Montreal, over a decade ago to investigate the genetics behind this disorder occurring in three large Newfoundland families. Dr. Inge Meijer, a former doctoral candidate in the Rouleau Laboratory, discovered that these families were ancestrally related, and in 2002, identified the locus (DNA region) containing the mutation causing HSA.

A few years later, Cynthia Bourassa, lead author of the study, took over Meijer's project. "I reexamined some unresolved details using newer and more advanced methods," explains Bourassa, who is a master's student in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montreal. She then teamed up with Dr. Nancy Merner, who after obtaining her Ph.D. at Memorial University moved to Montreal to further her career in genetic research. "It is an honour to be a part of this study and impact the lives of my fellow Newfoundlanders. I knew coming into the Rouleau Laboratory that the genetic factors of the HAS families had not yet been identified. In fact, I asked about them on my first day of work, shortly after which I teamed up with Cynthia and we found the gene!"

Scientific explanation:

The gene harbouring the mutation is VAMP1, encoding the synaptobrevin protein. "Not only was the mutation present in all patients and absent from all population controls, but also, synaptobrevin is a key player in neurotransmitter release, which made sense at the functional level as well," says Bourassa. In fact, the authors believe that this mutation in the VAMP1 gene may affect neurotransmission in areas of the nervous system where the synaptobrevin protein is located, causing the unique symptoms of HSA. In other words, there are not enough messengers released, so nerves cannot function optimally.

"The discovery will benefit the families affected with this extremely debilitating disorder," says Dr. Rouleau. "A genetic diagnostic test can be developed, and genetic counseling can be provided to family members who are at risk of developing the disease or having children with the condition."

Identification of the VAMP1 mutation was made in the Guy Rouleau Laboratory in collaboration with investigators from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. Funding was provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canada Research Chair, and the Jeanne-et-J.-Louis-Levesque Chair for the Genetics of Brain Diseases.


'/>"/>
Contact: Patrick Dion
patrick.a.dion@umontreal.ca
514-246-0126
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Inch Closer to Genetic Blueprint of Diseases
2. Could Internet Addiction Be Genetic?
3. New genetic clues to why most bone marrow transplant patients develop graft-versus-host disease
4. Genetic link to prostate cancer risk in African Americans found
5. New genetic risk factor for inflammation identified in African-American women
6. URMC researchers connect new genetic signature to leukemia
7. More clues about why chimps and humans are genetically different
8. Mans Best Friend Points the Way in Genetic Research
9. Pre-test genetic counseling increases cancer knowledge for BRCA patients
10. Genetic Studies Give Clues to Tourette Syndrome, OCD
11. Marin Countys high breast cancer rate may be tied to genetics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for ... popular and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As ... with Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine ... and returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online details ... to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only the ... and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) notes ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants ... grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen Matrix") the ... of collagen and mineral based medical devices for ... Bill Messer has joined the company as ... the growing portfolio of oral surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedic ... joins the Collagen Matrix executive team as an ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for ... of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, ... Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists ... Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has ... 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to their ... Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite Smart ... electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits ... structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally placed ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: