Guanylate cyclase C signaling: an intestinal secretory pathway where bugs, genes and new drugs intersect
Acute infectious and chronic diarrheal diseases are important public health problems. A recent study by Fiskerstrand and colleagues identified a family with a rare early onset familial diarrhea. By linkage analysis and exon sequencing, the authors identified a heterozygous missense mutation in GUCY2C, encoding the guanylate cyclase C receptor, which is involved in intestinal secretion. This newly identified gene in the etiology of a familial diarrhea provides a candidate target for the development not only of new treatments for diarrhea, but also of a new drug class to treat constipation.