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Genetics/Is Linear IGA genetically inherited? Is it like a food allergy?

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Hello again! I have one more question- this time it's about an auto-immune disorder called Linear IGA. It happens when the body deposits a layer of proteins between the layers of skin, and it causes blistering. I was wondering what exactly in your genes causes this, because neither of my parents have this. My mother is allergic to gluten, though, so is it because she has an immune problem that I have one?
Thanks!
Mia

Answer
Hi Mia!

I'm sorry this is late.

Linear IGA is one of those diseases that may have several causes. It is primarily diagnosed functionally by the blistering you mention. What makes the blistering is that your immune cells (warriors in the battle against infection) erroneously start targeting foundation proteins between the layers of skin cells. These immune cells, convinced your skin is the enemy, result in the symptoms of linear IGA.

Sometimes Linear IGA can be caused as an adverse reaction to a drug. Sometimes it happens 'randomly'. Autoimmune diseases are tricky because they are not inherited directly, like blood types. More often what happens is that a family has a history of an immune system that sometimes mixes its signals up, resulting in any one of several kinds of autoimmune diseases. This means that it isn't just one gene that causes the 'problem'... it could be one of multiple things.

Your mother's gluten allergy is somewhat different, because it is an immune reaction to something from outside the body. Although avoiding wheat is a pain, it can be done. The linear IGA happens all the time to its victims because a patient cannot avoid their own skin.

Any immune stress can bring on an allergic or autoimmune episode. Colds, viruses, eating foods you're allergic to, pollens, stressful life events, pets... anything that activates your immune system will cause it to wake up super angry. An angry immune system wakes all the immune soldiers, including the ones that react to inner targets... which will then go after you and give you a bad episode. In general, managing an autoimmune disorder means keeping your immune system lazy and happy, which means it only makes a few soldiers rather than tons of them.

Some articles that may enhance your understanding:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoimmunity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_IgA_bullous_dermatosis
http://wassail-allthatilove.blogspot.com/2008/03/disorders-of-immune-system-immu

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Trista Robichaud, PhD

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No homework questions, especially ones copied and pasted from textbooks. I will answer questions about principles or give hints, but I do not do other's homework. I'm comfortable answering basic biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, and biology questions up to and including an undergraduate level of understanding. This includes molecular biology, protein purification, and genetics. My training/inclination is primarily in structural biology, or how the shapes of things affect their function. Other interests include protein design, protein engineering, enzyme kinetics, and metabolic diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. Regrettably, I cannot diagnose any disease. I can tell you how we currently understand the basic science behind a disease state, but I cannot recommend treatment in any way. Please direct such questions to your medical professional.

Experience

I hold a PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. I specialize in Biochemistry, with a focus on protein chemistry. My thesis work involved the structure and functions of the human glucose transporter 1. (hGLUT1) Currently I am a postdoc working in peptide (mini-protein) design and enzymology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. I am in Bjorn Steffensen's lab, researching inhibitors of gelatinase A, a matrix metalloproteinase. I have also been answering Chemistry/Biochemistry questions on this site since summer 2010.

Organizations
2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007 American Chemical Society 2007 Protein Society 2011 UTHSCSA Women’s Faculty Association

Publications
Publications Levine KB, Robichaud TK, Hamill S, Sultzman LA, Carruthers A. Properties of the human erythrocyte glucose transport protein are determined by cellular context. Biochemistry 44(15):5606-16, 2005. (PMID 15823019) Robichaud TK, Appleyard AN, Herbert RB, Henderson PJ, Carruthers A “Determinants of ligand binding affinity and cooperativity at the GLUT1 endofacial site” Biochemistry 50(15):3137-48, 2011. (PMID 21384913) Xu X, Mikhailova M, Chen Z, Pal S, Robichaud TK, Lafer EM, Baber S, Steffensen B. “Peptide from the C-terminal domain of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) inhibits membrane activation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2)” Matrix Biol. 2011 Sep;30(7-8):404-12. (PMID: 21839835) Robichaud TK, Steffensen B, Fields GB. Exosite interactions impact matrix metalloproteinase collagen specificities. J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 28;286(43):37535-42 (PMID: 21896477) Poster Abstracts: Robichaud TK, Carruthers. A Mutagenesis of the Human type 1 glucose transporter exit site: A functional study. ACS 234th Meeting, Boston MA. Division of Biological Chemistry, 2007 Robichaud TK, Bhowmick M, Tokmina-Roszyk D, Fields GB “Synthesis and Analysis of MT1-MMP Peptide Inhibitors” Biological Chemistry Division of the Protein Society Meeting, San Diego CA 2010 Robichaud TK; Tokmina-Roszyk D; Steffensen B and Fields GB “Exosite Interactions Determine Matrix Metalloproteinase Specificities” Gordon Research Conference on Matrix Metalloproteinase Biology, Bristol RI 2011

Education/Credentials
INSTITUTION AND LOCATION DEGREE (if applicable) YEAR(s) FIELD OF STUDY Oakland University, Auburn Hills MI BS 1993-1998 Biochemistry University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester MA PhD 2001-2008 Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio TX Postdoc 2009-Present Biochemistry

Awards and Honors
1998 Honors College Graduate, Oakland University 2009 Institutional National Research Service Award, Pathobiology of Occlusive Vascular Disease T32 HL07446 2011 1st Place, Best Postdoctoral Poster, Dental Science Symposium, UTHSCSA, April 2011

Past/Present Clients
Invited Seminars: Robichaud TK, Fields GB. “Synthesis and Analysis of MTI-MMP Triple Helical Peptide Inhibitors” Pathology Research Conference, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Pathology Department (June 18th, 2010) Robichaud TK & Hill, B “How To Give A Great Scientific Talk” Invited Lecture, Pathobiology of Occlusive Vascular Disease Seminars, UTHSCSA (Nov 11th 2010), Cardiology Seminar Series, Texas Research Park (Feb 21st, 2011) Robichaud TK; Tokmina-Roszyk D; Steffensen B and Fields GB “Exosite Interactions Determine Matrix Metalloproteinase Specificities” Gordon-Keenan Research Seminar “Everything You Wanted to Know About Matrix Metalloproteinases But Were Afraid to Ask” Bristol, RI (Aug 6th, 2011)

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