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Study suggests gene, immune cell deregulation link in MS

6/1/2016

T CD4+ cells are crucially important in generating protective cell immune responses and they are thought to be deregulated in multiple sclerosis. A new study suggests that the ANKRD55 gene may play a fundamental role in this deregulation.

Researchers with the The Neurogenomiks research group, linked to the Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience (EHUgroup) and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) found that the gene known as ANKRD55 produces three different transcripts of the messenger RNA, and that the genetic variant associated with multiple sclerosis greatly increases the production of these transcripts.

The researchers said they had discovered and proven that this takes place specifically in the case of a particular category of immune cells, the so-called T CD4+ cells. This suggests that ANKRD55 exerts a significant biological function on these cells, which now needs to be deciphered. They point out that the region of the 5qll chromosome contains various known genes that play a role in immune response and the data point to ANKRD55 as the key gene in this area.

The findings constitute a significant advance in the understanding of the biology of the ANKRD55 gene and of the proteins it expresses. The authors said their results will strengthen an in-depth study of ANKRD55, with the ultimate aim of opening up diagnostic and therapeutic means to benefit patients who suffer from MS.

The findings were published in the Journal of Immunology.



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