Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic mutations identified that suggest link between type 1 diabetes and common viral infection

09.03.2009
The rare genetic mutations also reduce the risk of developing the disease

Scientists from Cambridge University have discovered four rare mutations of a gene associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D) that reduce the risk of developing the disease. Their findings, published today in the journal Science Express, suggest a link between T1D and the enterovirus (a common virus that enters via the gastrointestinal tract but is often non-symptomatic).

Everyone carries the IFIH1 gene, which plays a role in the body's antiviral responses. Importantly, it is also located in the region of the human genome associated with T1D, an autoimmune disorder which results in the body attacking its own insulin-producing pancreatic cells. The IFIH1 gene codes for a protein that recognizes the presence of viruses in the cell and controls immune activation. It is within this gene that scientists have identified four gene variants that protect against T1D.

Enteroviruses are well known to be associated with T1D: enterovirus infections are more common among newly diagnosed T1D patients and pre-diabetic subjects than in the general population and often precede the appearance of biological markers for pre-diabetes. However, no one knows if these infections are a cause of type 1 diabetes.

The study by Nejentsev et al., which was conducted at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory, establishes that the IFIH1 protein is involved in T1D, highlighting a molecular pathway by which enterovirus infections may contribute to the development of the disease. The four rare variants they identified, which are predicted to reduce function of the IFIH1 protein, consistently decrease the risk of T1D, rather than predispose to it. This suggests a model where normal immune activation caused by enterovirus infection and mediated by IFIH1 protein stimulates autoimmunity that eventually leads to T1D.

Professor John Todd, senior author on the study, said: "We have been able to pin-point one particular gene among a long list of candidates. Now we and others can begin to study the biology of IFIH1 in the context of type 1 diabetes knowing that it is part of the cause of the disease."

In the past three years genome-wide association studies have been a major success, revealing dozens of regions in the human genome that harbour genes which predispose individuals to various diseases, such as diabetes or cancers. Nevertheless, as disease-associated regions may contain several genes with different functions, scientists rarely know which gene or gene variant (mutations of the gene) in these regions cause the disease.

In order to overcome this limitation, the scientists searched for variants that had obvious biological effects, e.g. those affecting gene expression or protein function. They hypothesized that if a gene harbors several such variants, then it is likely to be causative. Most of such variants are rare in the population and are not tested in genome-wide association studies. Nevertheless, they could be discovered by sequencing (examining the sequence of the pairs of nucleotides which make up a gene).

The researchers studied 10 candidate genes associated with T1D. Using a novel technique (high throughput sequencing of DNA pools) in collaboration with 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company, they examined the DNA of 480 T1D patients and 480 healthy controls. This approach allowed them to not only discover several rare variants associated with T1D, but also to accurately measure their frequency in the pools of patients and controls.

The researchers then genotyped approximately 30,000 individuals who were either T1D patients, controls or family members and proved that four rare variants or versions that reside in the gene IFIH1 reduce the risk of developing T1D.

The study demonstrates that re-sequencing genes associated with diseases can help pinpoint the specific gene or genes that lead to the disease.

"Finding several new rare disease variants with clear biological functions was crucial. Not only has this proved that IFIH1 is involved in type 1 diabetes, it also gave us clues to understand the mechanism" said Dr. Sergey Nejentsev, Royal Society Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine, the first author of the study. He added: "This experiment shows the way to identify causative genes contributing to various common diseases."

Genevieve Maul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cam.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>