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Genes 2015, 6(3), 577-591; doi:10.3390/genes6030577

Alu Elements as Novel Regulators of Gene Expression in Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility Genes?

1
Department of Pediatrics, Copenhagen Diabetes Research Center (CPH-DIRECT), Herlev University Hospital, Herlev Ringvej 75, Herlev DK-2730, Denmark
2
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen DK-1165, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Claire Vandiedonck
Received: 13 April 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Diabetes)
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Abstract

Despite numerous studies implicating Alu repeat elements in various diseases, there is sparse information available with respect to the potential functional and biological roles of the repeat elements in Type 1 diabetes (T1D). Therefore, we performed a genome-wide sequence analysis of T1D candidate genes to identify embedded Alu elements within these genes. We observed significant enrichment of Alu elements within the T1D genes (p-value < 10e−16), which highlights their importance in T1D. Functional annotation of T1D genes harboring Alus revealed significant enrichment for immune-mediated processes (p-value < 10e−6). We also identified eight T1D genes harboring inverted Alus (IRAlus) within their 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) that are known to regulate the expression of host mRNAs by generating double stranded RNA duplexes. Our in silico analysis predicted the formation of duplex structures by IRAlus within the 3'UTRs of T1D genes. We propose that IRAlus might be involved in regulating the expression levels of the host T1D genes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Alu; T1D; repeat elements; IRAlus; UTRs Alu; T1D; repeat elements; IRAlus; UTRs
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kaur, S.; Pociot, F. Alu Elements as Novel Regulators of Gene Expression in Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility Genes? Genes 2015, 6, 577-591.

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