Each year tuberculosis (TB) infects about eight million people, killing an estimated two million of these. Factors such as stress and malnutrition can influence susceptibility to the disease, but scientists have also longed to understand how genes can influence whether an individual develops TB after infection.
Igor Kramnik and his colleagues now add a new piece to this genetic puzzle. In a letter in the 07 April 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 434, No. 7034, pp. 767-772), they show that the Ipr1 gene in the sst1 region of mouse chromosome 1 can determine susceptibility to TB. The authors suggest that SP110, the human homologue of this gene, might be a candidate a candidate link to TB susceptibility in people.
"These studies not only provide insight into a novel aspect of TB pathogenesis, but, if validated in humans, may reveal new targets for drug treatments," write Nada Jabado and Philippe Gros in an accompanying News and Views article.
Igor Kramnik (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA)
Philippe Gros (McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
(C) Nature press release.
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