Author(s): Kong PL, Morel L, Croker BP, Craft J
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Abstract Lupus is a prototypic systemic autoimmune disease that has a significant genetic component in its etiology. Several genome-wide screens have identified multiple loci that contribute to disease susceptibility in lupus-prone mice, including the Fas-deficient MRL/Fas(lpr) strain, with each locus contributing in a threshold liability manner. The centromeric region of chromosome 7 was identified as a lupus susceptibility locus in MRL/Fas(lpr) mice as Lmb3. This locus was backcrossed onto the resistant C57BL/6 (B6) background, in the presence or absence of Fas, resulting in the generation of B6.MRLc7 congenic animals. Detailed analysis of these animals showed that Lmb3 enhances and accelerates several characteristics of lupus, including autoantibody production, kidney disease, and T cell activation, as well as accumulation of CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative T cells, the latter a feature of Fas-deficient mice. These effects appeared to be dependent on the interaction between Lmb3 and Fas deficiency, as Lmb3 on the B6/+(Fas-lpr) background did not augment any of the lupus traits measured. These findings confirm the role of Lmb3 in lupus susceptibility, as a modifier of Fas(lpr) phenotype, and illustrate the importance of epistatic interaction between genetic loci in the etiology of lupus. Furthermore, they suggest that the genetic lesion(s) in MRLc7 is probably different from those in NZMc7 (Sle3/5), despite a significant overlap of these two intervals.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine