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A missense mutation in the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 4 subunit is associated with autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy.

Nature genetics

Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Chickens, Chromosome Mapping, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 20, DNA Primers, Epilepsy, Frontal Lobe, genetics, Female, Frontal Lobe, metabolism, Genes, Dominant, Genetic Linkage, Humans, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Pedigree, Point Mutation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Rats, Receptors, Nicotinic, chemistry, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid

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      Abstract

      Epilepsy affects at least 2% of the population at some time in their lives. The epilepsies are a heterogeneous group of disorders, many with an inherited component. Although specific genes have been identified in a few rare diseases causing seizures as part of a more diffuse brain disorder, the molecular pathology of the common idiopathic epilepsies is still unknown. Linkage has been reported for some generalised epilepsy syndromes, but only very recently for familial partial epilepsy syndromes. Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE) is a partial epilepsy causing frequent, violent, brief seizures at night, usually beginning in childhood. The gene for ADNFLE maps to chromosome 20q13.2-q13.3 in one large Australian kindred. The neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 4 subunit (CHRNA4) maps to the same region of 20q (ref. 12) and the gene is expressed in all layers of the frontal cortex. We screened affected family members for mutations within CHRNA4 and found a missense mutation that replaces serine with phenylalanine at codon 248, a strongly conserved amino acid residue in the second transmembrane domain. The mutation is present in all 21 available affected family members and in four obligate carriers, but not in 333 healthy control subjects.

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      Most cited references 29

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      Proposal for Revised Classification of Epilepsies and Epileptic Syndromes.

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        Myoclonic epilepsy and ragged-red fiber disease (MERRF) is associated with a mitochondrial DNA tRNA(Lys) mutation.

        An A to G transition mutation at nucleotide pair 8344 in human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been identified as the cause of MERRF. The mutation alters the T psi C loop of the tRNA(Lys) gene and creates a CviJI restriction site, providing a simple molecular diagnostic test for the disease. This mutation was present in three independent MERRF pedigrees and absent in 75 controls, altered a conserved nucleotide, and was heteroplasmic. All MERRF patients and their less-affected maternal relatives had between 2% and 27% wild-type mtDNAs and showed an age-related association between genotype and phenotype. This suggests that a small percentage of normal mtDNAs has a large protective effect on phenotype. This mutation provides molecular confirmation that some forms of epilepsy are the result of deficiencies in mitochondrial energy production.
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          Unstable expansion of CAG repeat in hereditary dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA).

          Hereditary dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is an autosomal dominant neurologic disorder characterized by variable combinations of myoclonus, epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia, choreoathetosis and dementia. By specifically searching published brain cDNA sequences for the presence of CAG repeats we identified unstable expansion of a CAG in a gene on chromosome 12 in all the 22 DRPLA patients examined. A good correlation between the size of the CAG repeat expansion and the ages of disease onset is found in this group. Patients with earlier onset tended to have a phenotype of progressive myoclonus epilepsy and larger expansions. We propose that the wide variety of clinical manifestations of DRPLA can now be explained by the variable unstable expansion of the CAG repeat.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            7550350
            10.1038/ng1095-201

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