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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fragile x premutation.

  • Author(s): Tassone, Flora
  • Hagerman, Paul J
  • Hagerman, Randi J
  • et al.

Whereas full mutation CGG-repeat expansions (>200 repeats) of the fragile X gene (FMR1) give rise to the neurodevelopmental disorder, fragile X syndrome (FXS); smaller, 'premutation' expansions (55 to 200 repeats) are now gaining increasing recognition as the basis for a spectrum of clinical involvement, from neurodevelopmental problems; to mid-adult disorders, such as primary ovarian insufficiency and mood and psychiatric disorders; to the late-adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). The premutation disorders are thought to arise through a molecular mechanism involving toxicity of the elevated levels of expanded CGG-repeat mRNA ('RNA toxicity'), a process that is entirely distinct from the FMR1 protein-deficiency that gives rise to FXS. However, despite the importance of the spectrum of clinical disorders associated with the premutation, and a high prevalence rate (1 in 130 to 250 females and 1 in 250 to 810 males), relatively little attention has been paid to these disorders and there is a general lack of awareness among clinicians as to the distinction between the premutation disorders and FXS. To address this lack of awareness, an international conference on the premutation was held in Perugia, Italy, in June 2013. The conference covered the expanding range of clinical involvement, refinements of the assessments and tools for characterizing such involvement, and the rapidly expanding understanding of the pathogenic molecular and cellular mechanisms that give rise to the spectrum of involvement among premutation carriers. All of these advances support ongoing efforts to develop new targeted treatments for the premutation disorders. As an outgrowth of the meeting, papers were solicited from the conference attendees such that groups of scientists and clinicians would develop works that broadly covered the topics of the meeting. The following papers represent that effort.

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