PNA Research Update 7/06


submitted by Scott Kellogg DVM, Committee Chairman

from Dennis O’Brien DVM PhD, Professor of Neurology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Dear USKBTC Club Members

I received the following update from Dr. O’Brien concerning their PNA gene research.

Scott Kellogg DVM, H&G Committee Chairman:

I thought I should give you all an update on where we are with grants and such on the PNA research. As you probably know, we’d pretty much “hit the wall” in terms of what we could do with the financial resources we had. We know where the PNA gene is, and are pretty sure it is the PARK2 gene, but we haven’t been able to prove it. We can’t develop a 100% accurate DNA test for the disease until we have the mutation responsible, so we’ve been kin of stymied. We submitted a grant to NIH last October to allow us to take the research to the next level and finally nail this thing. We did a preliminary study that showed virtually no dopamine in the brain of xxx, the last affected Kerry Blue we saw. NIH was very interested, since they hope to gain insight in to Parkinson’s disease from all this, and we received a very good priority score in the reviews (12.7%), so I was hopeful that it would be funded. I kept waiting to get the work on the grant, but didn’t hear anything until the end of June. Unfortunately, the word was that the funding cutoff was at 12%, so we barely missed the cut. I revised and re-submitted the grant for July 1 deadline, and hopefully we’ll improve our score and make the cut next go around.

Now we wait for the review cycle to play out again, and it will probably be April before we hear anything. Meanwhile, Dr. Johnson continues to do what he can. There was another gene right next to the PARK2 that was also a potential candidate, so Dr. Johnson sequenced that one and didn’t find anything. He is looking into a different technique for finding the type of mutation we suspect is going on in the PARK2 gene, which will hopefully be easier to do than the one we were considering. We’ve also identified someone who can do RNA studies for us. That would allow us to prove that the PARK2 gene is really the culprit. Even though that still wouldn’t give us the actual mutation, at least we would know we’re barking up the right tree. Trouble is we need to collect tissues in a specific way to do that sort of study, so we have to wait for the next affected dog to come to Missouri to do so. We have found an affected Chinese Crested dog, so we’re working on getting the necessary samples on that dog.

Any way, just wanted to let you know where we were at with things. Hopefully, we’ll make the cut this time and be able to move forward with this. Meanwhile, if any other affected dogs surface, please let us know.


Thanks to Dr. O’Brien for his update, and let’s hope their grant is approved. If any PNA puppies happen to come along, please contact Dr. O’Brien at the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine.


Last Updated: 07/14/2006, 7:57 pm