Trinucleotide repeats (TNRs) expansion disorders are severe neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders that arise from inheriting a long tract (30-50 copies) of a trinucleotide unit within or near an expressed gene (Figure 1a). The mutation is referred to as 'trinucleotide expansion' since the number of triplet units in a mutated gene is greater than the number found in the normal gene. Expansion becomes obvious once the number of repeating units passes a critical threshold length, but what happens at the threshold to render the repeating tract unstable? Here we discuss DNA-dependent and RNA-dependent models by which a particular DNA length permits a rapid transition to an unstable state.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.