Unraveling the Gene/Environment Knot in Neurodevelopmental Disease: Focus on Angelman Syndrome
Grier, Mark Donald
Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a devastating neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by developmental delay, speech impairment, movement disorder, sleep disorders and refractory epilepsy. AS is caused by loss of the Ube3a protein encoded for by the imprinted Ube3a gene. Ube3a is expressed nearly exclusively from the maternal chromosome in mature neurons. Mouse models have helped determine the molecular defects in AS, however findings have been inconsistent across laboratories. Work in our laboratory suggested that environmental factors may play a role in the phenotypes observed in AS model mice. As a result, we evaluated the possibility of non-genomic causes of variation in phenotypes observed in AS model mice. Here we demonstrate that maternal status and diet play a large role in the magnitude of a hypomyelination phenotype observed in these mice.