Asthma has a genetic basis, but the identification of genes that predispose individuals to asthma has proven difficult. In the December issue of Nature Immunology scientists have isolated a new gene family that could play a major role in asthma susceptibility.
DeKruyff from California, USA and colleagues isolated a new gene family called Tim by analyzing a mouse chromosomal region homologous to human chromosome 5q that is linked to asthma susceptibility. Major polymorphisms or sequence changes in Tim1 and Tim3 were strongly associated with T helper cell differentiation and asthma susceptibility. The human homolog of TIM-1 is the receptor of hepatitis A virus, which may explain the inverse association of hepatitis A virus infection with the development of asthma.
Rosemarie H. DeKruyff
Stanford, CA 94305-5208
University of Cincinnati
Children's Hospital Research Foundation
Children's Hospital Phase C
3333 Burnet Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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