is remarkable that by studying only eleven of the some 200 genes that
are seen as belonging to the interferon system, we were able to
identify two genes with such clear connection to SLE," says Professor
A few years ago Lars Rönnblom and Professor Gunnar Alm at the Swedish
University of Agricultural Sciences were virtually the only researchers
who claimed that the interferon system, which is involved in the body's
defense against viruses, etc., was also behind the autoimmune disease
SLE. Since then they have shown the importance of the interferon system
in a number of works. This has led to the recognition of their
hypothesis in the last year, and today it represents a white-hot field
of research that has attracted a great deal of interest in the
pharmaceutical industry. This picture has now been further reinforced
by new findings - the result of multidisciplinary and international
collaboration involving world experts on the interferon system,
immunology, and the disease SLE, combined with world leaders in the
technology for large-scale genetic analyses and statistics. The genetic
and statistical analyses were performed by the doctoral student Snaevar
Sigurdsson and Professor Ann-Christine Syvänen at the Center for
Clinical Medical Research at Uppsala University.
The study, comprising nearly 2,000 individuals, shows that two genes in
rferon system are very strongly associated with the disease
SLE. One of the genes codes for a so-called thyrosinkinase enzyme,
whose function is to convey signals from interferon outside the cells
to the cell nucleus.
"We found that genetic variants of thyrosinkase protect against SLE. It
probably has an inhibited function that blocks the interferon effect.
It is therefore possible to imagine the development of methods of
treatment for SLE based on blocking the function of the thyrosinkinase
enzyme," explains Lars Rönnblom.
The other gene codes for a transcription factor, which also plays an
important role in regulating the interferon effect. Further functional
analyses will be necessary to map the molecular mechanisms in detail.
Besides the Rheumatology Clinic at Uppsala Akademiska Hospital,
hospitals in Umeå and Lund, in Sweden, and several hospitals in Finland
as well as one hospital in Reykjavik provided the project with DNA
samples and diagnostic information from SLE patients.
Related biology news :
1. Protein Packages Found To Activate Genes; May Be What Regulates Development And Disease
2. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
3. Genpathway and Baylor College of Medicine Identify New Genes in Breast Cancer
4. Where Bacteria Get Their Genes
5. Genes linked to treatment resistance in children with leukemia
6. Noise And Delays Explain Why Some Genes Oscillate In Activity
7. Genes involved in biofilms
8. Genes involved in cell growth and cell division identified
9. Genes affecting blood pressure change as children become adults
10. Genes discovered that allow gum disease bacterium to invade arteries
11. Genes and genius: Researchers confirm association between gene and intelligence