Newly Found Gene Implicated in MS Development

Genetic variant in the chromosome 5q11 affects development of multiple sclerosis.

A genetic variant in the chromosome 5q11 associated with the susceptibility of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) was found to be involved in the regulation of the ANKRD55 gene, new research revealed.

A study published in the Journal of Immunology detailed how ANKRD55 produces 3 different transcripts of RNA. Additionally, the genetic variant of 5q11 significantly increased the production of the transcripts.

“We have also discovered and proven that this takes place specifically in the case of a particular category of immune cells, the so-called T CD4+ cells,” said lead study author Koen Vandenbroeck. “This suggests that ANKRD55 exerts a significant biological function on these cells and which now needs to be deciphered. It is important to point out that the region of the 5qll chromosome contains various known genes that play a role in immune response. Nevertheless, our data clearly point to ANKRD55 as the key gene in this area.”

T CD4+ cells play a crucial role in the body by generating protective cell immune responses, a process that is thought to be deregulated in MS. The study’s findings showed the ANKRD55 gene could play a fundamental role in this deregulation.

Furthermore, researchers found that the ANKRD55 proteins resided in the cells nuclei, suggesting they could play an important role in the specific processes that occur in the cell nucleus, like gene transcription.

These findings further the understanding of the ANKRD55 gene’s biology and of the proteins it expresses.