Characterization of survival motor neuron (SMNT) gene deletions in asymptomatic carriers of spinal muscular atrophy.
ABSTRACT Previous reports have established that the telomeric copy of the survival motor neuron (SMNT) gene and the intact copy of the neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) gene are preferentially deleted in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Although deletions or mutations in the SMNT gene are most highly correlated with SMA, it is not clear to what extent NAIP or other genes influence the SMA phenotype, or whether a small fraction of SMA patients actually have functional copies of both SMNT and NAIP. To evaluate further the part of SMNT in the development of SMA, we analyzed 280 asymptomatic SMA family members for the presence or absence of SMNT exons 7 and 8. We report the following observations: (i) 4% of the sample harbored a polymorphic variant of SMNT exon 7 that looks like a homozygous deletion; (ii) approximately 1% of the parents are homozygously deleted for both exons 7 and 8; (iii) one asymptomatic parent lacking both copies of SMNT exons 7 and 8 displays a 'subclinical phenotype' characterized by mild neurogenic pathology; (iv) another asymptomatic parent lacking both SMNT exons showed no signs of motor neuron disorder by clinical and neurodiagnostic analyses. The demonstration of polymorphic variants of exon 7 that masquerade as homozygous nulls, and the identification of SMA parents who harbor two disease alleles, serve as a caution to those conducting prenatal tests with these markers.
Article: Reply to MackenzieThe American Journal of Human Genetics 02/1998; 62(2):486-488. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy is the most common autosomal-recessive genetic disorder lethal to infants. It was first described in the 1890s. Since then our understanding of the disorder has progressed significantly. Progression of the disease is due to loss of anterior horn cells, thought to be caused by apoptosis. Diagnosis is based on the course of the illness, as well as certain changes seen on nerve and muscle biopsy and electrodiagnostic studies. More recently, our understanding of the genetics of this disorder has provided a noninvasive approach to diagnosis. This method of testing has its downside, but the quest for a more sensitive analysis is still underway. Even though our knowledge of this disease has come a long way since its first recognition, the therapies available to these children are still only supportive. Again, researchers eagerly look for new therapeutic interventions to allow for improved quality of life and an extended life span. (J Child Neurol 1999;14:691-695).Journal of Child Neurology 11/1999; 14(11):691-695. · 1.67 Impact Factor
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