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Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2015 Jun;13(3):146-58. doi: 10.1007/s11914-015-0268-x.

GNAS Spectrum of Disorders.

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Pediatric Endocrinology, Marmara University School of Medicine Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey,


The GNAS complex locus encodes the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gsα), a ubiquitous signaling protein mediating the actions of many hormones, neurotransmitters, and paracrine/autocrine factors via generation of the second messenger cAMP. GNAS gives rise to other gene products, most of which exhibit exclusively monoallelic expression. In contrast, Gsα is expressed biallelically in most tissues; however, paternal Gsα expression is silenced in a small number of tissues through as-yet-poorly understood mechanisms that involve differential methylation within GNAS. Gsα-coding GNAS mutations that lead to diminished Gsα expression and/or function result in Albright's hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO) with or without hormone resistance, i.e., pseudohypoparathyroidism type-Ia/Ic and pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism, respectively. Microdeletions that alter GNAS methylation and, thereby, diminish Gsα expression in tissues in which the paternal Gsα allele is normally silenced also cause hormone resistance, which occurs typically in the absence of AHO, a disorder termed pseudohypoparathyroidism type-Ib. Mutations of GNAS that cause constitutive Gsα signaling are found in patients with McCune-Albright syndrome, fibrous dysplasia of bone, and different endocrine and non-endocrine tumors. Clinical features of these diseases depend significantly on the parental allelic origin of the GNAS mutation, reflecting the tissue-specific paternal Gsα silencing. In this article, we review the pathogenesis and the phenotypes of these human diseases.

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