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Medical News and Perspectives
March 16, 2005

Lupus “Gatekeeper” Gene Discovered

JAMA. 2005;293(11):1315. doi:10.1001/jama.293.11.1315

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.

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