[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/139039]
Prof Nigel Laing
Prof Kathryn North
Brief description Congenital myopathies are inherited disorders causing muscle weakness from birth. Some types lead to early death of the affected child, while others are compatible with life to adulthood. Like any disease of childhood, the congenital myopathies cause considerable trauma to the families concerned. Couples at risk of having another affected child frequently wait for prenatal diagnosis to become available for their particular disease before attempting to have further children. However, prenatal diagnosis is only possible once the gene causing a disorder and the mutation in an individual family are identified. In the past, the Laboratories collaborating in this project, the Molecular Neurogenetics Laboratory, Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute, Perth, and the Neurogenetics Research Unit, New Children s Hospital, Sydney, have identified disease genes for congenital myopathies. Prenatal diagnosis is now possible for families whose disease-causing mutation is identified. However the genetic cause of many of the congenital myopathies remains unknown. DNA and other samples have been sent to the Laboratories from around the world, making us reference centres for congenital myopathy research. Part one of the project is to study these and Australasian samples, to identify other congenital myopathy genes. This will help families who currently cannot have prenatal diagnosis. Finding the genes also increases understanding of the diseases by clarifying which proteins are involved. In part two of the project we shall study the mutated proteins, to try to unravel how the gene mutations cause the diseases. The third part of the project is to reevaluate the highly variable muscle pathology in congenital myopathies in cases where the disease gene is now known, in order to investigate genotype-phenotype correlations. Understanding the pathologic basis of the congenital myopathies will ultimately allow us to begin to think rationally about possible treatments.
Funding Amount $AUD 743,290.16
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project with Research Fellowship