There are two goals to this study: 1) To identify differences among individuals with PWS and autism from those who have PWS without autism by analyzing gene expression and 2) To identify new patterns of gene expression which may help explain the PWS condition or how other very small molecules that do not make protein (non-coding RNAs) implicated in this disorder are able to regulate gene expression in nerve cells. All of these studies will be done using cells found in tooth pulp (Dental Pulp Stem Cells (DPSC)) that can be collected from children who lose their “baby teeth” and donate these teeth for the study. DPSC will be grown in the laboratory and converted into nerve cells for gene expression studies. Eventually we hope to use these newly identified genes as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of PWS, possibly using a methodology that inhibits the gene expression (RNA interference methods).
Dental pulp stem cells for the study of neurogenetic disorders. Victor AK, Reiter LT. Human Molecular Genetics. 2017 Oct 1;26(R2):R166-R171.
Lawrence Reiter, PhD
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center