Dissecting the role of the foxp3 gene in the joint genetic susceptibility to autoimmune thyroiditis and diabetes: A genetic and functional analysis

Cheuk Wun Li, Erlinda Concepcion, Yaron Tomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have previously shown that a (TC)n microsatellite in intron 5 of the Forkhead Box Protein 3 (FOXP3) gene was associated with a variant of the autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 3 (APS3v), that is defined as the co-occurrence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and autoimmune thyroiditis (AITD). Allele 10, containing 25 repeats of the microsatellite (long repeats), is preferentially transmitted to offspring with APS3v, while allele 2, containing 14 repeats of the microsatellite (short repeats), is protective. We hypothesized that the long repeats of the intron 5 microsatellite decrease FOXP3 splicing and function, thereby reducing regulatory T cell activity and promoting the development of APS3v.We cloned genomic DNA from two males hemizygous for the long and short repeats of the microsatellite on their X-chromosomes and transfected them into human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK 293) cells to perform direct splicing analysis.We identified a novel splice variant of FOXP3 lacking exon 6, and showed that it is expressed in human thymus and lymph node. However, the length of the repeats in the microsatellite did not significantly influence the expression of this FOXP3 splice variant in vitro. Interestingly, this splice variant was expressed in human regulatory T cells, suggesting that it may play a role in their function.In conclusion, we identified a novel splice variant FOXP3δ6. The role of its expression in regulatory T cells in the development of autoimmunity remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalGene
Volume556
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 10 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • FOXP3
  • Gene splicing
  • Transcription
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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