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J Immunol. 2007 Oct 1;179(7):4867-73.

Deficiency of the NF-kappaB inhibitor caspase activating and recruitment domain 8 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is associated with disease severity.

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  • 1Unidad de Genetica Molecular, Hospital Universitario Marques de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain.


Caspase activating and recruitment domain 8 (CARD8) potently inhibits NF-kappaB signaling, which plays a key role in inflammation, and may contribute to avoid a pathologic activation of NF-kappaB; however, the transcriptional mechanisms regulating CARD8 expression and the relevance of this protein in inflammatory diseases are poorly understood. We found a NF-kappaB-binding element within the human CARD8 promoter that was required for transcriptional activity in response to TNF-alpha and the p65 subunit of NF-kappaB. Moreover, TNF-alpha and overexpression of p65 induced the formation of NF-kappaB-CARD8 promoter complexes. Thus, CARD8 may control NF-kappaB activation through a regulatory loop. To study the relevance of CARD8 in chronic inflammatory disorders, we functionally characterized a deleterious polymorphism (p.C10X) and studied its association with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Transfection of cell lines with the allelic variants of CARD8 revealed that full-length (CARD8-L) but not truncated (CARD8-S) protein inhibits NF-kappaB transcriptional activity, and abrogates the binding of NF-kappaB to its consensus site. Furthermore, in contrast to the full-length protein, CARD8-S did not modify the expression of NF-kappaB target genes (cIAP, A1), in response to TNF-alpha. We analyzed the p.C10X polymorphism in 200 patients with RA, and found that homozygous carriers of the CARD8-S allele have higher disease activity score (p = 0.014), more extra-articular manifestations (p = 0.03), and a lower probability of clinical remission (p = 0.03) than the CARD8-L allele carriers. Overall, our findings provide molecular insight into the expression of CARD8 by NF-kappaB, and suggest that a deleterious polymorphism of CARD8 may help predict the severity of RA.

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