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Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Aug;73(2):261-70. Epub 2003 Jun 25.

BRD2 (RING3) is a probable major susceptibility gene for common juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, and Columbia Genome Center, Columbia University and Clinical and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, 10032, USA.


Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a common form of generalized epilepsy that starts in adolescence. A major JME susceptibility locus (EJM1) was mapped to chromosomal region 6p21 in three independent linkage studies, and association was reported between JME and a microsatellite marker in the 6p21 region. The critical region for EJM1 is delimited by obligate recombinants at HLA-DQ and HLA-DP. In the present study, we found highly significant linkage disequilibrium (LD) between JME and a core haplotype of five single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNP) and microsatellite markers in this critical region, with LD peaking in the BRD2 (RING3) gene (odds ratio 6.45; 95% confidence interval 2.36-17.58). DNA sequencing revealed two JME-associated SNP variants in the BRD2 (RING3) promoter region but no other potentially causative coding mutations in 20 probands from families with positive LOD scores. BRD2 (RING3) is a putative nuclear transcriptional regulator from a family of genes that are expressed during development. Our findings strongly suggest that BRD2 (RING3) is EJM1, the first gene identified for a common idiopathic epilepsy. These findings also suggest that abnormalities of neural development may be a cause of common idiopathic epilepsy, and the findings have implications for the generalizability of proposed pathogenetic mechanisms, derived from diseases that show Mendelian transmission, to their complex counterparts.

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