Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This article identified 18 new TRIM genes (Tripartite Motif): regions that code for ubiquitin ligases and are an innate immunity response to viruses. They found 11 new regions unique to humans and African apes, and 7 that are human-specific. They all seem to have derived from segmental duplications, and mostly from a single locus on chr 11. They are also copy number variable within the human population, and Han chines women have 12 additional copies. The locus they derived from has been identified as a "hotspot" in chimpanzee and macaque genomes. They conclude that this "recombinationally volatile locus" is important for the host-virus arms race, and provides immune defenses to new pathogens through rapid segmental duplication and CNV.