MentallyHealth.Org

Researchers identify gene responsible for Meckel-Gruber and Joubert syndromes

March 24, 2017

The work identified a previously unknown gene - TMEM216 - as a cause of Meckel-Gruber and Joubert syndromes. They also showed that the faulty TMEM216 gene stopped cells from making a protein that is needed for signalling.

Because Meckel-Gruber and Joubert syndromes are recessive genetic disorders, only couples who both have a copy of the disease gene are at risk of conceiving babies with these birth defects.

The condition is more common in certain close-knit populations where the gene has been passed down from generation to generation. These include families of Ashkenazi Jewish origin.

"Accurate genetic testing for TMEM216 will be particularly important for families throughout the world that have a history of ciliopathies caused by mutations to this gene," said Professor Johnson.

"Now that we have identified a gene that causes Meckel-Gruber syndrome and Joubert syndrome, the role of particular signalling pathways whilst the embryo is developing can also be more clearly understood," he added.

Source: University of Leeds