Characterisation of the genomic region around the TNF locus within the human major histocompatibility complex in the chromosome band 6p21.3
It is becoming increasingly apparent that many of the genes in the class III region of the human Major Histocompatibility Complex encode proteins involved in the immune and inflammatory responses. Furthermore, genetic studies have indicated that genes within the class III region, particularly the telomeric segment containing the TNF gene, could contribute to susceptibility to diseases of immune-related aetiology. To further characterise this region and to identify candidate disease susceptibility genes, two overlapping cosmids, TN62 and TN82, covering an ~82kb segment of DNA around the TNF gene were selected for sequence analysis. The eight known genes in this region have been precisely positioned with the order: Gl/AIF-1, 1C7, LST1 (B144), LTB, TNF, LTA, IKBL, BAT1 (centromere to telomere) and their genomic structures have been defined. Comparison of the Gl genomic region with previously described cDNA and genomic sequences, together with the results of RT-PCR, indicates that three alternative transcripts, Gl, Allograft Inflammatory Factor-1 and Interferon-γ Responsive Transcript-1, are all derived from this gene. The completion of the sequence of 1C7 (D6S2570) has revealed that this gene encodes a putative novel member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. A number of alternatively spliced transcripts of 1C7 were identified by RT-PCR, all of which are expressed in immune-related cell lines. Alternative splicing within the immunoglobulin domain- encoding region was seen to result in possible set switching between an IgV domain and an IgC2 domain. In addition to this, a previously unidentified gene, homologous to a number of V- ATPase G-subunits, has been located 1kb telomeric of IKBL. Lastly, the pseudogene UCRH-L and an AIF-1 gene fragment have been identified in the intergenic region between AIF-1 and 1C7. In order to assess the contribution of loci in this region to disease susceptibility, the genes AIF-1, 1C7, ATP6G and the BAT1 promoter region were subjected to mutation analysis. A total of 28 polymorphisms have been identified, 8 in AIF-1, 10 in 1C7, 7 in ATP6G and 3 in the BAT1 promoter region. Work is at present underway to genotype a number of the identified polymorphisms in control DNAs and in DNA samples from patients with combined variable immunodeficiency (CVID). The information generated from this analysis will bring us closer to explaining the reported linkage of CVID with the telomeric end of the human MHC class III region.