Investigating the role of the UPF3B gene and nonsense mediated RNA decay (NMD) process in mental retardation.
Contributor(s)National Health and Medical Research Council (isFundedBy)
University of Adelaide (isManagedBy)
disease gene discovery
children and adults
learning and memory problems
molecular basis of inherited disease
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AbstractIntellectual disability is a frequent and important medical problem. Genetic and environmental factors contribute about equally to the aetiology of intellectual disability. Estimated 1-3% of population suffer from a form of intellectual disability. Among the genetic factors contributing to intellectual disability are genes, and their mutations, on one of the human chromosomes, chromosome X. We have been studying human X-chromosome genes for many years and discovered in excess of 20 novel genes causing various forms of intellectual disability. Surprisingly the number of genes, in which mutations cause various forms of intellectual disability is unexpectedly high. Just on the human X-chromosome we expect in excess of 200 such genes, which is nearly 30% of the gene content of this chromosome. We propose to study a novel gene, UPF3B, we recently identified to be mutated in a form of intellectual disability. The normal function of this gene and its protein is known to a certain extent. The UPF3B protein plays a role of a guardian of other genes in human (and also other species) cells. The role of the UPF3B protein is to prevent erroneous genetic information to be used for the building of proteins with potentially toxic effects to the organism. In our patients this process clearly malfunctions as a consequence of the damaged UPF3B gene. We propose to shed some more light in to the molecular intricacies of this process with the aim to better understand the mechanics of the process. Families, which participate in our studies and have this gene involved will benefit from the availability of direct test. Multiple other families around the world are also likely to benefit, now or in the future.
NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant