JAX publishes online tool for exploring autoimmune disease gene networks

October 29, 2009
The gene networks illustrated in "Pathways to Discovery: Autoimmune Diseases" promise to facilitate the discovery of targeted therapies for many autoimmune diseases. Credit: The Jackson Laboratory

Currently, 5-8% of the U.S. population is afflicted with an autoimmune disease. Many of these are chronic and require life-long care. Moreover, different autoimmune diseases aggregate within a single family, suggesting they are caused by disruptions in common biological pathways.

To help researchers investigate these common pathways, The Jackson Laboratory has published "Pathways to Discovery: Autoimmune Diseases" (www.jax.org/jaxmice/pathways/autoimmune), a unique, interactive, and publicly accessible online resource that illustrates the genetic networks involved in five common autoimmune diseases: , rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and .

The backbone of the new tool is five "spider-web" diagrams that depict the gene/proteins involved in two or more of the five diseases. The symbols in the diagrams represent cytokines, transmembrane receptors, enzymes, nuclear receptors, and transcriptional regulators. The resource also provides gene- and disease-specific references, links to JAX® Mice strains (including inducible mouse models) that can be used to research the five diseases, and descriptions of JAX® In Vivo Services for compound efficacy testing.

"Pathways to Discovery: " promises to accelerate the discovery of autoimmune disease mechanisms and therapeutic interventions for both new and existing targets.

Source: Jackson Laboratory

Explore further: Researchers discover new molecular path to fight autoimmune diseases

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