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1.  Microarray-based gene expression profiling in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes defines a disease-related signature and IL-1-responsive transcripts 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(6):1064-1070.
Objective
To analyse gene expression patterns and to define a specific gene expression signature in patients with the severe end of the spectrum of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). The molecular consequences of interleukin 1 inhibition were examined by comparing gene expression patterns in 16 CAPS patients before and after treatment with anakinra.
Methods
We collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 22 CAPS patients with active disease and from 14 healthy children. Transcripts that passed stringent filtering criteria (p values ≤ false discovery rate 1%) were considered as differentially expressed genes (DEG). A set of DEG was validated by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and functional studies with primary cells from CAPS patients and healthy controls. We used 17 CAPS and 66 non-CAPS patient samples to create a set of gene expression models that differentiates CAPS patients from controls and from patients with other autoinflammatory conditions.
Results
Many DEG include transcripts related to the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses, oxidative stress, cell death, cell adhesion and motility. A set of gene expression-based models comprising the CAPS-specific gene expression signature correctly classified all 17 samples from an independent dataset. This classifier also correctly identified 15 of 16 postanakinra CAPS samples despite the fact that these CAPS patients were in clinical remission.
Conclusions
We identified a gene expression signature that clearly distinguished CAPS patients from controls. A number of DEG were in common with other systemic inflammatory diseases such as systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The CAPS-specific gene expression classifiers also suggest incomplete suppression of inflammation at low doses of anakinra.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202082
PMCID: PMC4174357  PMID: 23223423
2.  Efferocytosis is an innate antibacterial mechanism 
Cell host & microbe  2012;12(3):289-300.
Summary
Mycobacterium tuberculosis persists within macrophages in an arrested phagosome and depends upon necrosis to elude immunity and disseminate. Although apoptosis of M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages is associated with reduced bacterial growth, the bacteria are relatively resistant to death mechanisms, leaving the mechanisms underlying this observation unresolved. We find that following apoptosis, M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages are rapidly taken up by uninfected macrophages through efferocytosis, a dedicated apoptotic cell engulfment process. Efferocytosis of M. tuberculosis sequestered within an apoptotic macrophage further compartmentalizes the bacterium and delivers it along with the apoptotic cell debris to the lysosomal compartment. M. tuberculosis is killed only after efferocytosis, indicating that apoptosis itself is not intrinsically bactericidal but requires subsequent phagocytic uptake and lysosomal fusion of the apoptotic body harboring the bacterium. While efferocytosis is recognized as a constitutive housekeeping function of macrophages, these data indicate that it can also function as an antimicrobial effector mechanism.
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2012.06.010
PMCID: PMC3517204  PMID: 22980326
3.  Familial Mediterranean fever with a single MEFV mutation: Where is the second hit? 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(6):1851-1861.
Objective
FMF has traditionally been considered an autosomal recessive disease; however, it has been observed that a substantial number of patients with clinical FMF possess only one demonstrable MEFV mutation. Here, an extensive search for a second MEFV mutation was performed in 46 patients clinically diagnosed with FMF and carrying only one high-penetrance FMF mutation.
Methods
MEFV and other candidate genes were sequenced by standard capillary electrophoresis. The entire 15 kb MEFV genomic region was re-sequenced in 10 patients using a hybridization-based chip technology. MEFV gene expression levels were determined by qRT-PCR and pyrin protein levels were examined by Western blotting.
Results
A second MEFV mutation was not identified in any of the screened patients. Haplotype analysis did not identify a common haplotype that might be associated with the transmission of a second FMF allele. Western blots did not demonstrate a significant difference in pyrin levels between single and double variant patients; however, FMF patients of both types showed higher protein expression compared to controls and non-FMF patients with active inflammation. Screening of genes encoding pyrin-interacting proteins identified rare variants in a small number of patients, suggesting the possibility of digenic inheritance.
Conclusion
Our data underscore the existence of a significant subset of FMF patients who are carriers of only one MEFV mutation and demonstrate that complete MEFV sequencing is not likely to yield a second mutation. Screening for the set of most common mutations appears sufficient in the presence of clinical symptoms to diagnose FMF and initiate a trial of colchicine.
doi:10.1002/art.24569
PMCID: PMC2753538  PMID: 19479870
4.  STAT4 and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(10):977-986.
BACKGROUND
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q.
METHODS
We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
RESULTS
A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P = 2.81×10-7; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P = 1.87×10-9; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
CONCLUSIONS
A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073003
PMCID: PMC2630215  PMID: 17804842

Results 1-4 (4)