DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Psoriasis, Lupus,Rheumatoid ArthritisShare One Gene

Medical Author: Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editor: Barbara Hecht, Ph.D.

Nov. 11, 2000 -- Changes in one gene have been discovered that are shared by three common autoimmune diseases -- the skin condition psoriasis as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The genetic changes involve a gene called Runx-1.

What is Runx-1?

Runx-1 is a protein that acts as a transcription factor. It controls when genes are switched on or off. Runx-1 does so by binding to regulatory sequences -- specific sequences of DNA -- that are close to the genes they regulate. These DNA sequences, called Runx-1 binding sites, are scattered throughout the human genome, wherever there is a gene under the control of Runx-1.

Runx-1 stands for runt-related transcription factor 1. Runx-1 is also called AML1 because it is also altered in a form of acute myeloid leukemia, but that is a very different story, one to be told another time.