Rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism (RDP, DYT12) is a distinctive autosomal-dominant movement disorder with variable expressivity and reduced penetrance characterized by abrupt onset of dystonia, usually accompanied by signs of parkinsonism. The sudden onset of symptoms over hours to a few weeks, often associated with physical or emotional stress, suggests a trigger initiating a nervous system insult resulting in permanent neurologic disability. We report the finding of six missense mutations in the gene for the Na +/K+-ATPase α3 subunit (ATP1A3) in seven unrelated families with RDP. Functional studies and structural analysis of the protein suggest that these mutations impair enzyme activity or stability. This finding implicates the Na+/K+ pump, a crucial protein responsible for the electrochemical gradient across the cell membrane, in dystonia and parkinsonism.
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