There are two goals to this study: 1) To identify differences between individuals with PWS with autism from those who have PWS without autism using technology that analyzes how genes are expressed and 2) To identify a new role for SNORD115 and SNORD116 which may help explain the PWS condition or how other very small molecules that do not make protein (non-coding RNAs) are able to regulate gene expression in nerve cells. All of these studies will be done using the 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 method that can replace the non-coding RNAs lost in PWS.
Dental pulp stem cells for the study of neurogenetic disorders. Victor AK, Reiter LT. Human Molecular Genetics. 2017 Oct 1;26(R2):R166-R171.
Culturing and Neuronal Differentiation of Human Dental Pulp Stem Cells. Goorha S, Reiter LT. Current Protocols in Human Genetics. 2017 Jan 11;92:21.6.1-21.6.10.
Lawrence Reiter, PhD
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center