Diseases Of Aminoacid Transport: Genetic, Molecular and Biochemical Studies [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: Understanding the causes of inherited aminoacid transport defects

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof John Rasko (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Juleen Cavanaugh Prof Stefan Broer

Brief description Aminoacids are essential building blocks of all living things. They are taken up and retained in the body by highly specific pumps on the surface of cells. By understanding the mechanisms that control aminoacids, we will not only uncover pathways common to normal biology but also shed light on mechanisms of disease in humans. Specifically, the aminoacidurias include a number of inherited diseases of aminoacid transport that result in failure of uptake and retention of particular aminoacids. Hartnup disease is an inherited disorder of neutral aminoacid transport that can lead to a sun-sensitive skin rash, difficulties in controlling movements and walking and other neurological symptoms including mental retardation. A major feature of Hartnup disease is its clinical variability. We have recently identified the main genetic cause for Hartnup disease, and named the gene SLC6A19. We wish to examine whether the clinical variability observed is a consequence of genetic changes and variability in SLC6A19 and other possible genes. Two other aminoacidurias to be studied are dicarboxylic aminoaciduria and iminoglycinuria; both of which are also variable in their clinical consequences ranging from normality to mental retardation. Owing to the relative rarity of these disorders, we are fortunate to have exclusive access to individuals identified by the largest neonatal screening programme for aminoacidurias in the world, based in Canada, and other clinical cohorts within Australia. We will undertake genetic testing to localise and-or confirm the gene(s) involved in these diseases for the first time anywhere and then seek to explain their clinical variability based on functional analyses. We have established a team of researchers with complementary skills from three sites comprising the Australian Aminoaciduria Consortium. Outcomes from this project should impact on the causes and possible therapies for other important medical diseases including motor neurone disease.

Funding Amount $AUD 394,173.48

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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