Fine mapping and characterisation of polymorphic immunoregulatory genes in the central MHC [ 2000 - 2002 ]

Also known as: Characterization of genes in the central MHC that may affect autoimmune disease.

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: A/Pr Patricia Price (Principal investigator)

Brief description The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a group of genes that is usually inherited as a block. The group includes the HLA genes which can serve as markers for neighbouring genes that are less well characterised. For example, some variant forms (polymorphisms) of the HLA genes mark differences in susceptibility to diabetes, lupus and IgA deficiency. We propose that this may be caused by variations in the neighbouring uncharacterised genes affecting control of persistent inflammation of various target organs. Evidence so far suggests a gene in the central MHC may be responsible. In this project we will study DNA from patients who have unusual combinations of HLA and other MHC genes, to further define which part of the MHC contains the critical immunoregulatory genes. Most genes in the MHC have now been identified by the Human Genome Project, so we will be able to select the most promising candidates in the region of interest. We will then use DNA of known HLA types to determine if the candidate genes vary between individuals. The function of interesting genes will then be investigated by creating cell lines carrying part of the gene in the reverse (anti-sense) orientation. This generates a reverse messenger (m) RNA which binds the normal mRNA and prevents synthesis of the protein. We will then examine which responses of the resultant cell lines are abnormal (eg: production of inflammatory mediators or cytokines). Having elucidated the functions our genes, we will overexpress each version that occurs in patients in cultured cells and look for differences in function. In parallel with this work, we will use laboratory mice with known combinations of MHC genes to establish the effects of particular genes in a live animal.

Funding Amount $AUD 529,656.25

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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