Neurotransmitters Module: The Beery Twins’ Story©
A Project-Based Learning Activity
California twins Noah and Alexis Beery have gene variants that cause them to have life-threatening low levels of three neurotransmitters. Whole genome sequencing in 2010 identified a mutation in the gene that encodes the sepiapterin reductase enzyme, leading to a molecular diagnosis and successful treatment.
The Human Sepiapterin Reductase mRNA Gene Map© presents the nucleotide sequence of the messenger RNA encoding sepiapterin reductase - the enzyme that was shown to be defective in Noah and Alexis Beery. The map documents the molecular consequence of two different mutations in this gene that were responsible for the neurotransmitter deficiencies experienced by the Beery twins.
The Dopamine and Serotonin Biosynthesis Models show how the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan are converted into the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin by two consecutive enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Magnet-docked hydroxyl groups, carboxylate groups and hydrogens allow each model to be quickly converted from amino acid to neurotransmitter in two easy steps.