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Mutation screening of interferon regulatory factor 1 gene (IRF-1) as a candidate gene for atopy/asthma


T. Arinami Department of Medical Genetics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki-ken 305–8575, Japan.



IL-4 gene cluster on chromosome 5 contains several candidate genes for atopy and asthma. Several independent studies have shown evidence for linkage between the markers flanking IL-4 gene cluster and asthma and/or asthma-related traits. Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) is located approximately 300 kb telomeric to IL-4 and recent study reveals that IRF-1 deficiency results in an elevated production of Th2-related cytokines and a compensatory decrease in the expression of native cell- and Th1-related cytokines.


To determine if there are any mutations associated with the development of atopy and asthma present in the coding exons and 5′ flanking region of the IRF-1 gene.

Methods and results

We have screened the promoter and coding regions of the IRF-1 gene in atopic asthmatics and controls by SSCP method. We found three novel nuclear variants (the −300G/T and 4396 A/G polymorphisms and the 6355G > A rare variant) in the IRF-1 gene. No variants causing amino acid alterations of IRF-1 were detected. The −300G/T polymorphism was in nearly complete linkage disequilibrium with the 4396 A/G polymorphism. An association between the 4396 A > G polymorphism and atopy/asthma was examined by transmission disequilibrium test in 81 asthmatic families. Either of 4396 A or 4396G alleles was not significantly preferentially transmitted to atopy- or asthma-affected children.


The IRF-1 gene is less likely to play a substantial role in the development of atopy and asthma in the Japanese population.