Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene linked to a rare form of progressive hearing loss in males identified

Date:
December 18, 2009
Source:
NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Summary:
A gene associated with a rare form of progressive deafness in males has been identified. The gene, PRPS1, appears to be crucial in inner ear development and maintenance.

A gene associated with a rare form of progressive deafness in males has been identified by an international team of researchers funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The gene, PRPS1, appears to be crucial in inner ear development and maintenance. The findings are published in the Dec. 17 early online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

"This discovery offers exciting therapeutic implications," said James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIDCD. "Not only does it give scientists a way to develop a targeted treatment for hearing loss in boys with this disorder, it may also open doors to the treatment of other types of deafness, including some forms of acquired hearing loss."

The gene is associated with DFN2, a progressive form of deafness that primarily affects males. Boys with DFN2 begin to lose their hearing in both ears roughly between the ages of 5 and 15, and over the course of several decades will experience hearing loss that can range from severe to profound. Their mothers, who carry the defective PRPS1 gene, may experience hearing loss as well, but much later in life and in a milder form. Families with DFN2 have been identified in the United States, Great Britain, and China.

The NIDCD-funded researchers led by Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, discovered that the PRPS1 gene encodes the enzymephosphoribosylpyrophosphate (PRPP) synthetase 1, which produces and regulates PRPP (phospho-ribosylpyrophosphate), and appears to play a key role in inner ear development and maintenance. The four mutations identified in the PRPS1 gene cause a decrease in the production of the PRPP synthetase 1 protein that results in defects in sensory cells (called hair cells) in the inner ear, and eventually leads to progressive deafness.

"PRPS1 is an interesting example of a human disease gene in which gain of function or loss of function mutations cause several different and distinct hereditary disorders," says Dr. Liu. "Our findings emphasize the body's need for tight regulation of PRPP synthetase 1 since a drop in activity can lead to deafness." Other mutations in the PRPS1 gene have been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Arts syndrome and a form of Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, both of which feature deafness in the constellation of symptoms.

Knowing that a reduction in the amount of PRPP synthetase 1 is what causes deafness in DFN2, Liu and his colleagues are now exploring potential enzyme replacement therapies to either restore hearing or prevent further hearing loss in boys with DFN2. They believe that since the PRPS1 mutations can be used as a genetic marker for DFN2, in the future at-risk boys could be tested at birth and immediately put on enzyme replacement therapy to reduce or prevent the hearing loss that would ordinarily come later in life.

In addition, the knowledge that scientists gather about the mechanisms of PRPS1 potentially could be used to develop treatments to combat acquired hearing loss, such as the hearing loss caused by drugs that are used in some chemotherapy regimens and treatments for HIV/AIDS. These are powerful and helpful medications, but they have the unfortunate side effect of damaging, even killing, hair cells in the inner ear. The results from this study open the possibility for improving these life-saving treatments by eliminating or reducing the disabling side effect of hearing loss.

In addition to NIDCD support, the following institutions collaborated in this study: Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing; University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei; Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei; Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, GuiYang, China; UCL Institute of Child Health, London; Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shanghai Second Medical University, Shanghai; Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. "Gene linked to a rare form of progressive hearing loss in males identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133736.htm>.
NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2009, December 18). Gene linked to a rare form of progressive hearing loss in males identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133736.htm
NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. "Gene linked to a rare form of progressive hearing loss in males identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091217133736.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins