The major murine systemic lupus erythematosus susceptibility locus, Sle1, is a cluster of functionally related genes

Laurence Morel, Kim R. Blenman, Byron P. Croker, Edward K. Wakeland

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The major murine systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) susceptibility locus Sle1 is syntenic to a chromosomal region linked with SLE susceptibility in multiple human studies. Congenic analyses have shown that Sle1 breaks tolerance to chromatin, a necessary step for full disease induction that can be suppressed by specific modifier loci. In the present study, our fine mapping analysis of the location of Sle1 has determined that three loci within this congenic interval, termed Sle1a, Sle1b, and Sle1c, can independently cause a loss of tolerance to chromatin. Each displays a distinctive profile of serological and cellular characteristics, with T and B cell functions being more affected by Sle1a and Sle1b, respectively. The epistatic interactions of Sle1 with other susceptibility loci to cause severe nephritis cannot be accounted, however, by these three loci alone, suggesting the existence of an additional locus, termed Sle1d. These findings indicate that the potent autoimmune phenotype caused by the Sle1 genomic interval reflects the combined impact of four, separate, susceptibility genes. This level of genetic complexity, combined with similar findings in other systems, supports the possibility that many complex trait loci reflect the impact of polymorphisms in linked clusters of genes with related functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1787-1792
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 13 2001


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