Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Potential New Therapeutic Target for Rheumatoid Arthritis Discovered

Combining epigenomic and genomic analyses with functional experimentation, researchers from Xi'an Jiaotong University have uncovered a potential new therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Genome-wide association studies have associated multiple SNPs at chromosome 2p14 with RA, but their functional roles in the disease's pathology is unknown. Hypothesizing that intronic SNPs at 2p14 might act as regulatory elements that affect gene expression in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) — synovial tissue cells that help drive RA onset and progression — the researchers performed bioinformatic analyses using epigenomic annotation, high-throughput chromatin interaction, and other data, followed by functional validation experiments. As reported in this week's American Journal of Human Genetics, they show that intronic RA SNPs affect enhancer activity to directly regulate the expression of a gene, SPRED2, that is involved in inflammation. They further show that SPRED2 works with another gene to protect against RA by inhibiting the migration and invasion of rheumatoid FLSs. "Our findings decipher the molecular mechanisms behind the GWAS signals at 2p14 for RA and emphasize SPRED2 as a potential candidate gene for RA, providing a potential target and direction for precise treatment of RA," the study's authors write.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.