Restoring the levels of a receptor coded by a single “gatekeeper”
gene can halt the development of lupus in mice, an achievement that may point
the way to new therapies targeting the autoimmune disease. The findings, by
scientists at Rockefeller University in New York, were published in a pair
of articles in January (Fukuyama et al. Nat Immunol. 2005;6:99-106
and McGaha et al. Science. 2005;307:590-593).
The researchers first identified an inhibitory Fc receptor, which is
coded by a single gene, that plays a critical role in the ability of the immune
system to distinguish between self and nonself in the mouse. They then found
that even partial restoration of the receptor’s function prevented the
development of lupus in several lupus-prone mouse strains.
Kuehn BM. Lupus “Gatekeeper” Gene Discovered. JAMA. 2005;293(11):1315. doi:10.1001/jama.293.11.1315