Molecular evidence of founder effects of fatal familial insomnia through SNP haplotypes around the D178N mutation

Ana B. Rodríguez-Martínez, Miguel A. Alfonso-Sánchez, José A. Peña, Raquel Sánchez-Valle, Inga Zerr, Sabina Capellari, Miguel Calero, Juan J. Zarranz, Marian M. De Pancorbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents a detailed investigation of the genomic region surrounding the PRNP gene in a sample of patients diagnosed with fatal familial insomnia (FFI) from several European countries, notably Spain. The main focus of the study was to explore the origins of the chromosomes carrying the D178N mutation by designing a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotype around the PRNP gene. Haplotypes were constructed by genotyping six SNPs (rs2756271, rs13040327, rs6037932, rs13045348, rs6116474, and rs6116475) in 25 FFI patients from all over Spain. To augment the geographical scope of our study, 13 further FFI cases from Germany (9) and Italy (4) were also examined. Genotyping of SNPs in conjunction with the analysis of genealogical data for a group of FFI patients revealed the existence of two distinct haplotypes potentially associated with the D178N mutation. Of them, GCATTA-M proved to be the common haplotype of Spanish patients, whereas ACATTA-M was typical of the German cases. It is interesting to note that both haplotypes were identified in the Italian samples: GCATTA-M in a family from the Tuscany region and ACATTA-M in a family from the Veneto region. Our findings suggest the occurrence of two independent D178N-129M mutational events in Europe, preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next until nowadays. Likewise, results based on the analysis of SNP data indicate that previous hypotheses postulating that the D178N mutation had independent origins for each family and that its global distribution was determined by recurrent mutational events must be regarded with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • D178N mutation
  • Fatal familial insomnia
  • Founder effect
  • Prion diseases
  • PRNP gene
  • SNP haplotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular evidence of founder effects of fatal familial insomnia through SNP haplotypes around the D178N mutation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this