The largest genetic study of tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility to date has led to a potentially important new insight into how the pathogen manages to evade the immune system, according to research published today in the journal Nature Genetics.
Researchers found that variants of the gene ASAP1 on chromosome 8 affect individuals’ susceptibility to TB. The gene encodes a protein carrying the same name and is highly expressed – in other words, larger amounts of the protein are found – in a particular type of immune cells known as dendritic cells that play a key role in kick-starting the body’s immune response to incoming pathogens.
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