Why women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases is not completely clear, but new data suggest that the hormone estrogen may play an important role. A new study now shows that estrogen activates the expression of activation-induced deaminase (AID), a protein that drives antibody diversification by deaminating cytosine in DNA to uracil. If estrogen increases the level of AID, increased mutations could transform benign antibodies into anti-self pariahs. AID might also contribute to cancer-particularly in breast tissue, which is highly responsive to estrogen-by introducing mutations and strand breaks into the genome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy