Dominant and Protective Role of the CYTH4 Primate-Specific GTTT-Repeat Longer Alleles Against Neurodegeneration
H. R. Khorram Khorshid
M. A. Sahraian
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© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Primate-specific genes and regulatory mechanisms could provide insight into human brain functioning and disease. In a genome-scale analysis of the entire protein-coding genes listed in the GeneCards database, we have recently reported human genes that contain “exceptionally long” short tandem repeats (STRs) in their core promoter, which may be of adaptive/selective evolutionary advantage in this species. The longest tetra-nucleotide repeat identified in a human gene core promoter belongs to the CYTH4 gene. This GTTT-repeat is specific to Hominidae and Old World monkeys, and the shortest allele of this repeat, (GTTT) 6 , is linked with neural dysfunction and type I bipolar disorder in human. In the present study, we sought a possibly broader role for the CYTH4 gene core promoter GTTT-repeat in neural functioning and investigated its allelic distribution in a total of 949 human subjects, consisting of two neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS) (n = 272) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (n = 257), and controls (n = 420). The range of the alleles of this GTTT-repeat in the human sample studied was between 6- and 9-repeats. The shortest allele, (GTTT) 6 , was significantly in excess in the MS and AD patients in comparison with the controls (p < 0.004). The 6/6, 6/7, and 7/7 genotypes were in excess in the MS and AD patients, whereas the overall frequency of all other genotypes (consisting of at least one longer allele, i.e., 8- or 9-repeat) was higher in the controls (p < 0.005), indicating a dominant and protective effect for the longer alleles against neurodegeneration. This is the first indication of the involvement of a primate-specific STR in neurodegeneration in humans. We propose an adaptive evolutionary role for the expansion of the CYTH4 gene core promoter GTTT-repeat in the human brain, which is supported by a link between the shortest allele of this repeat with neuropsychiatric disorders.