Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a complex disorder that manifests with an array of phenotypes, such as hypotonia and difficulties in feeding during infancy and reduced energy expenditure, hyperphagia, and developmental delays later in life. While the genetic cause has long been known, it is still not clear how mutations at this locus produce this array of phenotypes. In this issue of the JCI, Burnett and colleagues used a comprehensive approach to gain insight into how PWS-associated mutations drive disease. Using neurons derived from PWS patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mouse models, the authors provide evidence that neuroendocrine PWS-associated phenotypes may be linked to reduced expression of prohormone convertase 1 (PC1). While these compelling results support a critical role for PC1 deficiency in PWS, more work needs to be done to fully understand how and to what extent loss of this prohormone processing enzyme underlies disease manifestations in PWS patients.
Joseph Polex-Wolf, Giles S.H. Yeo, Stephen O’Rahilly
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