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Interleukin-7 receptor α chain (IL-7Rα) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated with susceptibility to immunopathologies like autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The current hypothesis about underlying mechanisms is based on the regulation of IL-7 availability for self-reactive T cells by influencing the generation of a soluble (s)IL-7Rα variant. This assumption was mainly predicated on the well-defined IL7RA SNP rs6897932, which affects alternative splicing and causes aberrant generation of the sIL-7Rα variant with potential effects on the IL-7 serum reservoir. However, more recent studies shed light on novel functions of autoimmunity risk-associated IL7RA SNPs and characterized the largely neglected effect of rs6897932 on membrane (m)IL-7Rα expression. These findings as well as a described role of impaired mIL-7Rα expression and IL7RA SNP influence on chronic infectious diseases necessitates the reevaluation of previous findings on the role of IL7RA SNPs in immunopathology.


Christian Lundtoft, Julia Seyfarth, Marc Jacobsen. IL7RA genetic variants differentially affect IL-7Rα expression and alternative splicing: a role in autoimmune and infectious diseases? Genes and immunity. 2020 Feb;21(2):83-90

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PMID: 31929513

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