WDR45 – this is what you need to know in 2015

BPAN. We have selected WDR45 to be our Epilepsiome gene of the week. WDR45 was initially identified as the causative gene for a rare phenotype referred to as static encephalopathy with neurodegeneration in adulthood (SENDA), which belongs to a group of neurodegenerative disorders that have accumulation of iron in the CNS as the common feature. In contrast to the narrow and very specific phenotype in most other disorders in this group, the phenotypic spectrum of WDR45 has expanded significantly since the initial discovery in 2013. Mutation in WDR45 can be identified in patients with a broad range of neurodevelopmental phenotypes including epileptic encephalopathies. Continue reading

Twisting DNA and seizures: TDP2 mutations in neurodegeneration with epilepsy

Torsional stress. The DNA double helix has one major problem that we know from telephone cords: it is difficult to untangle. However, our DNA is constantly twisted and untangled for gene transcription. This constant twisting and untwisting produces torsional stress that is relieved by topoisomerases. A recent publication in Nature Genetics now identified a human neurological phenotype that is caused by faulty activity of this mechanism: neurodegeneration with epileptic encephalopathy. However, there are some features of the phenotype that are not easily explained by erroneous DNA twisting. Continue reading