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Asthma is a familial inflammatory disease of the airways of the lung. Microbial exposures in childhood protect against asthma through unknown mechanisms. The innate immune system is able to identify microbial components through a variety of pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs). NOD1 is an intracellular PRR that initiates inflammation in response to bacterial diaminopimelic acid (iE-DAP). The NOD1 gene is on chromosome 7p14, in a region that has been genetically linked to asthma. We carried out a systematic search for polymorphism in the gene. We found an insertion-deletion polymorphism (ND(1)+32656) near the beginning of intron IX that accounted for approximately 7% of the variation in IgE in two panels of families (P<0.0005 in each). Allele*2 (the insertion) was associated with high IgE levels. The same allele was strongly associated with asthma in an independent study of 600 asthmatic children and 1194 super-normal controls [odds ratio (OR) 6.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4-28.3, dominant model]. Differential binding of the two ND(1)+32656 alleles was observed to a protein from nuclei of the Calu 3 epithelial cell line. In an accompanying study, the deletion allele (ND(1)+32656*1) was found to be associated with inflammatory bowel disease. The results indicate that intracellular recognition of specific bacterial products affects the presence of childhood asthma.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date





935 - 941


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Alleles, Alternative Splicing, Asthma, Case-Control Studies, Cell Line, Child, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7, Epithelium, Gene Deletion, Genetic Techniques, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Humans, Immunoglobulin E, Inflammation, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Introns, Models, Genetic, Nod1 Signaling Adaptor Protein, Odds Ratio, Phenotype, Polymorphism, Genetic, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Tissue Distribution