SNP-mediated binding of TBX1 to the enhancer element of IL-10 reduces the risk of Behcet's disease

H.D. Tan, G.N. Su, X. Tan, Y. Qin, L. Chen, G.X. Yuan, A. Kijlstra, P.Z. Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims: The genetic association between Behcet's disease susceptibility and IL-10 has been confirmed in multiple cohorts, but the underlying mechanism of this association remains unclear. Materials & methods: We combined public resources and laboratory experiments (electrophoretic mobility shift assays, chromatin immunoprecipitation, luciferase reporter gene and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing) to analyze transcription factor binding and enhancer activity controlling IL-10 expression. Results & conclusion: The T allele of noncoding rs3024490 within super-enhancer elements is able to specifically bind TBX1 and, in turn, promotes the enhancer activity and increased expression of IL-10. However, a relative deficiency in TBX1 in Behcet's disease patients leads to the low expression of IL-10 and increased risk of developing Behcet's disease.Lay abstract Behcet's disease is an important cause of blindness. Previous reports show that genetic factors are linked with this disease, although the exact genetic mechanism is unclear. Many of these genetic factors are involved in the control of the immune response, including a large family of proteins known as cytokines. Some of the cytokines are proinflammatory while others can dampen the inflammatory response. An example of the latter is the IL-10 cytokine. We found that individuals carrying a specific site in the noncoding region of the IL-10 gene had a higher risk of Behcet's disease than other noncarriers. This study was designed to further investigate the biological mechanisms explaining the role of the specific site in the development of Behcet's disease. The results show that this specific site affects the binding of an important transcription factor, TBX1, which reduces IL-10 production. The dysregulated control of IL-10 explains why individuals with this genetic trait are more susceptible to developing Behcet's disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1537
Number of pages15
Issue number19
Early online date1 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Behcet's disease
  • IL-10
  • polymorphisms
  • super-enhancer
  • TBX1
  • IL23R-IL12RB2
  • IL10

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