A group of genes that has been largely ignored by scientists could play critical roles in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), inflammation, and likely obesity and other metabolic diseases, new research suggests. The discovery was made by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the context of how our bodies recognize and remove dying cells.
“We came across the genes, called SLCs, kind of by accident,” said Carter Center Member, Kodi Ravichandran, who chairs the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology. “Initially, just like everybody else, we were not paying much attention to the SLCs. But they kept coming up repeatedly in our gene expression analyses, and we realized this must be relevant. Then we took a serious dive into their biology, and we had a lot of fun surprises.”