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Genes and their regulatory 'tags' conspire to promote rheumatoid arthritis
Date:1/20/2013

lled epigenetic system that helps regulate when and how DNA sequences are "read," how they're used to create proteins and how they affect the onset or progress of disease.

To complicate matters, Feinberg notes, the attachment of the tags to particular DNA sequences can itself be regulated by genes. "The details of what causes a particular sequence to be tagged are unclear, but it seems that some tagging events depend on certain DNA sequences. In other words, those tagging events are under genetic control," he says. Other tagging events, however, seem to depend on cellular processes and environmental changes, some of which could be the result, rather than the cause, of disease.

To tease apart these two types of tagging events, the researchers catalogued DNA sequences and their tagging patterns in the white blood cells of more than 300 people with and without one form of RA.

The team then began filtering out the tags that did not appear to affect RA risk. For example, if tags were seen on the same DNA sequence in those with and without RA, it was assumed that the tags at those sites were irrelevant to the cause or development of the disease. Then, from among the RA-relevant tags, they narrowed in on tags whose placement seemed to be dependent on DNA sequence. Finally, they made sure that the DNA sequences identified were themselves more prevalent in patients with RA. In this way, they created a list of DNA sequences associated with altered DNA tagging patterns, both of which were associated with RA.

Ultimately, the team identified 10 DNA sites that were tagged differently in RA patients and whose tagging seemed to affect risk for RA. Nine of the 10 sites were within a region of the genome known to play an important role in autoimmune diseases, while the 10th was on a gene that had never before been associated with the disease. "Since RA is a disease in which the body's immune system turns on itself, current treatments often invol
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Contact: Catherine Kolf
ckolf@alumni.nd.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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