The function of embryonic HOX loci on fibroblast function

We have shown that synovial fibroblasts isolated from different joints substantially differ in gene expression and functional properties. In particular, the expression of genes that are involved in embryonic limb development, namely HOX genes, substantially differs between joint regions. Also in skin and cartilage, the expression of HOX transcription factors is strongly related to the anatomical localisation. Based on this data, we hypothesize that the joint-specific phenotypes shaped during embryonic development and maintained during adult life, significantly contribute to the pathognomic patterns of joint affection in chronic inflammatory arthritis such as RA. However, little is known about the function of HOX genes in synovial fibroblasts. Therefore, we analyse the properties of various HOX transcription factors and non-coding RNAs in synovial fibroblasts with knock-down and overexpression experiments.


Involved team members

  • Muriel Elhai
  • Masoumeh Mirrahimi
  • Larissa Moser
  • Mojca Frank-Bertoncelj

Funded by

  • Foundation for Research in Science and the Humanities at the University of Zurich
  • EMDO Foundation
  • Hartmann-Müller Foundation
  • Kurt-und-Senta-Herrmann Foundation
  • Carigest

Relevant publications

Elhai M, Micheroli R, Frank-Bertoncelj M, Klein K, Distler O, Ospelt C.
The Long Non-coding RNA HOTAIR Regulates BMP2 and Wnt Pathways in Synovial Fibroblasts [abstract].
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10).

Frank-Bertoncelj M, Kuret T, Županič A, Sodin-Semrl S, Distler O, Ospelt C.
The Long Noncoding RNA HOTTIP Regulates Cell Cycle and Inflammatory Response in Hand Synovial Fibroblasts [abstract].
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10).

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