Identification of gene(SLC22A4) involved in rheumatoid arthritis

November 27, 2003 PRESS RELEASE

The Laboratory for Rheumatic Diseases has identified the gene involved in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
The laboratory compared the gene of 841 patients of rheumatoid arthritis and 658 healthy persons. As a results, it was that there was a difference in the genes of the two groups that produce protein SLC22A4 (organic cation transporter), which has function to transport organic substances with positive charges in the organisms. It was also clarified that the molecules of SLC22A4 express themselves in the leukocytes that play an important role in the inflammation of the joints. In addition, RUNX1 gene (transcription control factor) that binds to a DNA sequence in SLC22A4 gene and regulates its transcription. This regulation of SLC22A4 by RUNX1 was affected by possession of disease-suscpeible allele of the SNP in the binding sequence.
In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple genes were suspected of interrelating to one another until recently, but actual results have hardly been shown. The laboratory will continue to clarify the cause of this disease by analyzing the physiological function of SLC22A4. The research result was published in the December issue of the U.S. science journal “nature genetics”