California State University, San Jose: M.S.W. 1991
Biola University: B.A. 1987
Areas of Expertise (2)
Industry Expertise (2)
Health and Wellness
Research Articles & Publications (5)
Susan M. Kirwin, Athena Manolakos, Sarah Swain Barnett, Iris L. Gonzalez
2014 Barth syndrome is caused by mutations in the TAZ (tafazzin) gene on human chromosome Xq28. The human tafazzin gene produces four major mRNA splice variants; two of which have been shown to be functional (TAZ lacking exon 5 and full-length) in complementation studies with yeast and Drosophila. This study characterizes the multiple alternative splice variants of TAZ mRNA and their proportions in blood samples from a cohort of individuals with Barth syndrome (BTHS). Because it has been reported that collection and processing methods can affect the expression of various genes, we tested and chose a stabilizing medium for collecting, shipping and processing of the blood samples of these individuals. In both healthy controls and in BTHS individuals, we found a greater variety of alternatively spliced forms than previously described, with a sizeable proportion of minor splice variants besides the four dominant isoforms. Individuals with certain exonic and intronic splice mutations produce additional mutant mRNAs that could be translated into two or more proteins with different amino acid substitutions in a single individual. A fraction of the minor splice variants is predicted to be non-productive.
Susan M. Kirwin, Kathy M. B. Vinette, Iris L. Gonzalez, Hind Al Abdulwahed, Nouriya Al-Sannaa, Vicky L. Funanage
2013 Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common autosomal recessive cause of infant death, is typically diagnosed by determination of SMN1 copy number. Approximately 3–5% of patients with SMA retain at least one copy of the SMN1 gene carrying pathogenic insertions, deletions, or point mutations. We report a patient with SMA who is homozygous for two mutations carried in cis: an 8 bp duplication (c.48_55dupGGATTCCG; p.Val19fs*24) and a point mutation (c.662C>T; p.Pro221Leu). The consanguineous parents carry the same two mutations within one SMN1 gene copy. We demonstrate that a more accurate diagnosis of the disease is obtained through a novel diagnostic assay and development of a capillary electrophoresis method to determine the copy number of their mutant alleles. This illustrates the complexity of SMN mutations and suggests additional testing (gene sequencing) may be appropriate when based on family lines.
Fan Y, Steller J, Gonzalez I, Kulik W, Fox M, Chang R, Westerfield BA, Batra AS, Wang RY, Gallant NM, Pena LS, Wang H, Huang T, Bhuta S, Penny DJ, McCabe ER, Kimonis VE
2013 Barth syndrome is an X-linked recessive disorder characterized by dilated cardiomyopathy, neutropenia, 3-methylglutaconic aciduria, abnormal mitochondria, variably expressed skeletal myopathy, and growth delay. The disorder is caused by mutations in the tafazzin (TAZ/G4.5) gene located on Xq28. We report a novel exonic splicing mutation in the TAZ gene in a patient with atypical Barth syndrome.
Clarke SL, Bowron A, Gonzalez I, Groves SJ, Newbury-Ecob R, Clayton N, Martin RP, Tsai-Goodman B, Garratt V, Ashworth M, Bowen VM, McCurdy KR, Damin MK, Spencer CT, Toth MJ, Kelley RI, Steward CG
2013 First described in 1983, Barth syndrome (BTHS) is widely regarded as a rare X-linked genetic disease characterised by cardiomyopathy (CM), skeletal myopathy, growth delay, neutropenia and increased urinary excretion of 3-methylglutaconic acid (3-MGCA). Fewer than 200 living males are known worldwide, but evidence is accumulating that the disorder is substantially under-diagnosed. Clinical features include variable combinations of the following wide spectrum: dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), endocardial fibroelastosis (EFE), left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC), ventricular arrhythmia, sudden cardiac death, prolonged QTc interval, delayed motor milestones, proximal myopathy, lethargy and fatigue, neutropenia (absent to severe; persistent, intermittent or perfectly cyclical), compensatory monocytosis, recurrent bacterial infection, hypoglycaemia, lactic acidosis, growth and pubertal delay, feeding problems, failure to thrive, episodic diarrhoea, characteristic facies, and X-linked family history. Historically regarded as a cardiac disease, BTHS is now considered a multi-system disorder which may be first seen by many different specialists or generalists. Phenotypic breadth and variability present a major challenge to the diagnostician: some children with BTHS have never been neutropenic, whereas others lack increased 3-MGCA and a minority has occult or absent CM.
Kirwin SM, Vinette KM, Schwartz SB, Funanage VL, Gonzalez I
2007 To report recurrent transmissions of Barth syndrome through a single oocyte donor carrying a de novo TAZ mutation.