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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1996 Mar;36(2):219-26.

DRPLA gene (atrophin-1) sequence and mRNA expression in human brain.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205-2196, USA.


Dentatorubral pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA, Smith's disease) is one of five disorders currently known to result from expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat encoding glutamine. The reported full length cDNA sequence encodes a serine repeat and a region of alternating acidic and basic amino acids, as well as the glutamine repeat. We now report the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of the open reading frame of this gene, obtained from a series of independently isolated and sequenced cDNA clones. Eight nucleotide differences from the originally published sequence result in a change of 34 amino acids, most prominently in the region of alternating acidic and basic residues. Northern analysis and in situ hybridization indicate that atrophin-1 mRNA is expressed in multiple brain regions. The level of mRNA expression as determined by in situ hybridization in a DRPLA-diseased brain is indistinguishable from the level observed in a matched control brain. These results indicate that the correlation between atrophin-1 expression and regions of pathology in DRPLA is at best partial, and that the expanded allele does not cause a major loss of mRNA expression. The pathology of the disorder may therefore arise from the altered structure and function of the abnormal protein.

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