Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5′ flanking region of IL12RB2 are frequently detected in lepromatous leprosy patients, and may be possible immunogenetic factors that reduce transcriptional activity of the IL-12Rβ2 gene in Jurkat T cells. This study determined the functional effects of these SNPs on NK-cell activity, including IFN-γ production and IL-12Rβ2 gene expression. Reporter gene assays using the NK cell line NK3.3 revealed that transcriptional activities of the variant haplotypes were significantly higher in the NK cell line, in contrast to our previous results in Jurkat T cells. IFN-γ production in activated T cells from donors was significantly lower than in cells from donors without the variant SNPs, while NK cells with these SNPs produced significantly higher amounts of IFN-γ. These results suggest that these SNPs in IL12RB2 have differential effects on cellular activation of T cells and NK cells.
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