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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Feb 16;255(2):483-90.

Isolation and characterization of the mouse Aire gene.

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  • 1Division of Medical Genetics, University of Geneva, Medical School, Switzerland.


Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by Addison's disease and/or hypoparathyroidism and/or chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. Patients may also have other clinical symptoms both within and outside the endocrine system, mainly as a result of autoimmunity against organ-specific autoantigens. The gene for APECED has recently been identified and termed AIRE (for AutoImmune REgulator). APECED is a model of organ-specific autoimmunity and isolation and characterization of the homologous mouse gene, Aire, will provide tools for dissection of the mechanisms underlying this human disorder and defining molecular pathways involved in organ-specific autoimmunity. We have isolated and completely sequenced the mouse Aire gene which is split into 14 exons over 13 kb and encodes a predicted protein of 552 amino acids. The predicted mouse and human AIRE proteins are 71% identical and contain motifs suggestive of a transcriptional regulator. Additional conserved motifs are emerging in the AIRE/Aire proteins including a nuclear localization signal, an "ASS" domain, and a "SAND" domain. The human and mouse AIRE promoters have conserved sites for several thymus-specific transcription factors and others important in hematopoesis, consistent with its expression in rare cells of the thymus medulla, lymph nodes, and fetal liver. We have mapped mouse Aire to mouse chromosome 10 by FISH, to the same region as Pwp2 and Pfkl, confirming synteny to the corresponding region of human chromosome 21.

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