Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) are neurodegenerative conditions that affect large motor neurons of the central nervous system. We have identified a familial juvenile PLS (JPLS) locus overlapping the previously identified ALS2 locus on chromosome 2q33. We report two deletion mutations in a new gene that are found both in individuals with ALS2 and those with JPLS, indicating that these conditions have a common genetic origin. The predicted sequence of the protein (alsin) may indicate a mechanism for motor-neuron degeneration, as it may include several cell-signaling motifs with known functions, including three associated with guanine-nucleotide exchange factors for GTPases (GEFs).
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