Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Double trouble

12.01.2009
Japanese researchers have identified two SNPs, which significantly increases susceptibility to the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE).

Variations in a single gene simultaneously increase the risk of two autoimmune conditions

Japanese researchers have identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), each of which significantly increases susceptibility to the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE). They occur in a gene for a protein that regulates immune system cells. While the SNPs have so far only been detected in East Asians, understanding their role in promoting the onset of both autoimmune diseases could lead to better treatments for all, the researchers say.

RA is a painful condition where the body’s immune system attacks and degrades joints. The disease affects up to one person in a hundred, and both genetic and environmental factors can increase susceptibility to it. Other researchers have uncovered several genes with variants that increase the risk of RA. Some, presumably for compounds involved in the autoimmune process at a generic level, simultaneously increase the risk of other autoimmune conditions, such as SLE.

The current study, recently published in Nature Genetics (1), was led by researchers from RIKEN’s Center for Genomic Medicine in Yokohama. It focuses on a region of the long arm of human chromosome 1 which contains genes of the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) family. Proteins of the SLAM family are involved in regulating cells of the immune system, so there is a potential link with autoimmune conditions. The chromosome region had already been linked with increased risk of RA and SLE in previous studies.

In two independent Japanese populations—one of 830 arthritis sufferers and 658 controls, the other of 1,112 arthritis sufferers and 940 controls—the researchers identified five SNPs closely associated with RA in the SLAM family gene, CD244. The researchers showed that these SNPs also increase susceptibility to SLE.

All the SNPs occurred in the gene’s introns—segments of the DNA sequence that are chopped out before the final protein is synthesized. It has recently been suggested that introns may well play a role in regulating gene activity. So the researchers assayed the SNPs for their impact on the rate of transcription of CD244, and determined that two of five led to significant increases in gene activity.

As CD244 is known to encode a protein which activates or inhibits the natural killer cells of the immune system, the researchers say they are not surprised that its SNPs are associated with susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. “But we don’t yet know the precise molecular mechanisms involved,” says project leader, Kazuhiko Yamamoto.

Reference

1. Suzuki, A., Yamada, R., Kochi, Y., Sawada, T., Okada, Y., Matsuda, K., Kamatani, Y., Mori, M., Shimane, K., Hirabayashi, Y., et al. Functional SNPs in CD244 increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in a Japanese population. Nature Genetics 40, 1224–1229 (2008).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Laboratory for Autoimmune Diseases

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/622/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>