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Hamilton Square, NJ, United States

The most common mutation of the HFE gene C282Y has shown a risk association with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in Welsh and Scottish case- control studies. This finding has not been replicated outside Britain. Here, we present a thorough analysis of the HFE gene in a panel of HLA homozygous reference cell lines and in the original population sample from South Wales (117 childhood ALL cases and 414 newborn controls). The 21 of 24 variants analyzed were from the HFE gene region extending 52 kb from the histone gene HIST1H1C to HIST1H1T. We identified the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs807212 as a tagging SNP for the most common HFE region haplotype, which contains wild-type alleles of all HFE variants examined. This intergenic SNP rs807212 yielded a strong male-specific protective association (per allele OR=0.38, 95% CI=0.22-0.64, P (trend)= 0.0002; P=0.48 in females), which accounted for the original C282Y risk association. In the HapMap project data, rs807212 was in strong linkage disequilibrium with 25 other SNPs spanning 151 kb around HFE. Minor alleles of these 26 SNPs characterized the most common haplotype for the HFE region, which lacked all disease-associated HFE variants. The HapMap data suggested positive selection in this region even in populations where the HFE C282Y mutation is absent. These results have implications for the sex-specific associations observed in this region and suggest the inclusion of rs807212 in future studies of the HFE gene and the extended HLA class I region. © Springer-Verlag 2009. Source


Ucisik-Akkaya E.,HUMIGEN LLC | Davis C.F.,HUMIGEN LLC | Do T.N.,HUMIGEN LLC | Morrison B.A.,HUMIGEN LLC | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Human Reproduction | Year: 2010

Success rate in human pregnancies is believed to be very low and sex-specific mechanisms may operate in prenatal loss. Assuming a sex-differential in prenatal loss exists, we examined genetic markers in biologically plausible targets in the HLA complex, other immune system-related and iron-regulatory genes in 388 healthy newborns from Wales (UK) using one sex as a control group for the other. Genotyping of 333 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 107 genes was achieved mainly by TaqMan assays. Twenty-two of autosomal SNPs showed frequency differences between 187 male and 201 female newborns either individually or as part of a haplotype. Of these, six markers (RXRB rs2076310, HLA complex haplotype HLA-DQA1 rs1142316-HLA-DRA rs7192-HSPA1B rs1061581, HIST1H1T rs198844, IFNG rs2069727, NKG2D rs10772266 and IRF4 heterozygosity) showed statistically robust differences between male and female newborns and multivariable modeling confirmed their independence. There were fewer males homozygote for combined wildtype genotypes of LIF rs929271, TP53 rs1042522 and MDM2 rs2279744 compared with females [OR = 0.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.1-0.8; P < 0.01] although these SNPs did not show any association individually. It is unlikely that SNPs have clinical utility as single markers in any trait with complex etiology but polygenic predictive models remain a possibility. If their validity is confirmed in larger studies of different populations and functional mechanisms of these preliminary associations are elucidated, these markers from the HLA complex, NKG2D region and cytokines may cumulatively have sufficient predictive value for susceptibility to prenatal selection in each sex. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. Source


Yu R.Y.,HUMIGEN LLC | Brazaitis J.,HUMIGEN LLC | Gallagher G.,HUMIGEN LLC
Journal of Immunology | Year: 2015

The human IL23R gene single nucleotide polymorphism rs11209026 A allele confers protection against inflammatory diseases. However, although this difference has been associated with reductions in IL-23-induced IL-17A production and STAT3 phosphorylation, the molecular mechanism underlying these changes remains undefined. Th17 cell maturation depends on IL-23 signaling. Multiple splice forms of the human IL23R transcript exist, and one, Δ9, encodes a soluble form of the receptor. In this study, we asked whether this protective allele was associated with mRNA splicing. Using mini-gene constructs and competitive oligonucleotide binding, we showed that the A allele alters IL-23R α-chain mRNA splicing and favors exon 9 skipping by reducing the binding of the splicing enhancer SF2. This enhances expression of the Δ9 mRNA and consequently diminishes IL-23 signaling. Thus, the presence of the A allele increases expression of the soluble form of IL23R mRNA (which then functions as a decoy receptor) and lowers the ability to develop a Th17 phenotype upon IL-23 stimulation. We further showed that antisense oligonucleotides targeting the SF2 binding site could efficiently induce exon 9 skipping in the presence of the G allele, and thereby replicate the effect of the A allele. Antisense oligonucleotide treatment caused dose-responsive induction of the IL23RD9 mRNA and interfered with in vitro differentiation of human Th17 cells, reducing their expression of the signature Th17 cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F. This may represent a novel approach to therapy of Th17-mediated diseases by elevating soluble IL-23R while simultaneously reducing the remaining cell surface receptor density. Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc. Source


Ucisik-Akkaya E.,HUMIGEN LLC | Davis C.F.,HUMIGEN LLC | Gorodezky C.,Institute Diagnostico y Referencia Epidemiologicos InDRE | Alaez C.,Institute Diagnostico y Referencia Epidemiologicos InDRE | Dorak M.T.,HUMIGEN LLC
Cell Stress and Chaperones | Year: 2010

Three heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) genes, HSPA1L, HSPA1A, and HSPA1B, are located within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class III region. HSPs act as stress signals and regulate natural killer cell response to cancer. HSP70 gene polymorphisms show disease associations partly due to their linkage disequilibrium with HLA alleles. To systematically evaluate their associations with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), we examined the three functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs2227956 (T493M) in HSPA1L, rs1043618 in HSPA1A 5′ UTR, and rs1061581 (Q351Q) in HSPA1B by TaqMan assays or polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism in 114 ALL cases and 414 controls from Wales (UK), in 100 Mexican Mestizo ALL cases and 253 controls belonging to the same ethnic group, and in a panel of 82 HLA-typed reference cell line samples. Homozygosity for HSPA1B rs1061581 minor allele G was associated with protection (odds ratio (OR)∈=∈0.37, 95% confidence interval (CI)∈=∈0.16-0.78; P∈=∈0.007) with gene-dosage effect (additive model) reaching significance (P∈=∈0.0001) in the Welsh case-control group. This association was replicated in the second case-control group from Mexico (OR (recessive model)∈=∈0.49, 95% CI∈=∈0.24-0.96; P∈=∈0.03), and the pooled analysis yielded a strong association (Mantel-Haenszel OR∈=∈0.43, 95% CI∈=∈0.27-0.69, P∈=∈0.0004). The association was stronger in males in each group and in the pooled analysis. A three-SNP haplotype including the major allele A of rs1061581 showed a highly significant increase in Welsh cases compared with respective controls (6.7% vs 1.8%; P∈=∈0.0003) due to the difference between male cases and controls. The protective allele of rs1061581 occurred more frequently on the HLA-DRB3 haplotypes (especially DRB1 03) in the cell line panel, but the HSPA1B association was independent from the HLA-DRB4 association previously detected in the same case-control group from Wales (adjusted P∈=∈0.001). Given the cancer promoting roles played by HSPs intracellularly as well as roles in immune surveillance when expressed on the cell surface and the known correlations between expression levels and the HSP polymorphisms, these results are likely to indicate a primary association and warrant detailed assessment in childhood ALL development. © 2009 Cell Stress Society International. Source


Megjugorac N.J.,HUMIGEN LLC | Gallagher G.E.,HUMIGEN LLC | Gallagher G.,HUMIGEN LLC
Blood | Year: 2010

The type-III interferon (IFN) family is composed of 3 molecules in humans: IFN-λ1 (interleukin-29 [IL-29]), IFN-λ2 (IL-28A), and IFN-λ3 (IL-28B), each of which signals through the same receptor complex. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are major IFN-λ producers among peripheral lymphocytes. Recently, it has been shown that IFN-λ1 exerts a powerful inhibitory effect over the T-helper 2 (Th2) response by antagonizing the effect of IL-4 on CD4+ T cells and inhibiting the production of Th2-associated cytokines. Here, we asked whether Th2 cytokines exert reciprocal control over IFN-λ production. IL-4 treatment during stimulation of human peripheral lymphocytes significantly elevated IFN-λ1 transcription and secretion. However, pDCs were not directly responsive to IL-4. Using depletion and reconstitution experiments, we showed that IL-4-responsive monocytes are an intermediary cell, responding to IL-4 by elevating their secretion of IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-Ra); this IL-1Ra acts on pDCs to elevate their IFN-λ1 output. Thus, our experiments revealed a novel mechanism for regulation of both IFN-λ1 production and pDC function, and suggests an expanded immunomodulatory role for Th2-associated cytokines. © 2010 by The American Society of Hematology. Source

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