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A comparative study of mRNA and protein expression of the autoimmune regulator gene (Aire) in embryonic and adult murine tissues

Authors

  • KA Adamson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Immunobiology Group, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK
    2. Molecular Medicine Centre, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK
    • Immunobiology Group, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK.
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  • SHS Pearce,

    1. Institute of Human Genetics, International Centre for Life, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3BZ, UK
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  • JR Lamb,

    1. Immunobiology Group, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK
    2. Respiratory Medicine Unit, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK
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  • JR Seckl,

    1. Molecular Medicine Centre, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK
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  • SEM Howie

    1. Immunobiology Group, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK
    2. Department of Pathology, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK
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Abstract

Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS1) is a rare autosomal recessive human disorder caused by mutations in the autoimmune regulator gene (AIRE) and characterized by multiple autoimmune diseases. As reports of the tissue expression pattern of the murine Aire gene are discordant, a comprehensive survey of Aire expression was undertaken in adult and embryonic tissues at the mRNA and protein levels using real-time RT-PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry. In the adult, the highest Aire mRNA expression was in the thymus. All the other tissues investigated expressed Aire mRNA at low levels, but it was barely detectable in the adrenal gland. Aire protein expression was observed in the thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes. A common pattern was observed in other tissues, with staining in epithelial cells. An exception to this was the gut, where staining was seen in the mucin spaces. In embryonic tissue, Aire mRNA and protein expression was detected from E14.5 in the thymus. In the fetal liver, unlike the adult, staining was observed at E14.5 and decreased towards term. Thus, Aire is expressed in immunologically relevant tissues and in a restricted number of extra-immunological tissues in the adult. Furthermore, the presence of Aire protein is reported in extra-thymic tissues of the embryo. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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