The KDM6A gene encodes the UTX protein, which regulates the work of other genes involved in cell metabolism. The UTX protein also affects the function of NK cells – lymphocytes that destroy viruses.
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found that the UTX protein was more active in female NK cells than in male NK cells. This makes their immunity more effective against infections.
At the same time, women have two copies of the KDM6A gene, one on each X chromosome. In males, only one copy of this gene is found on the Y chromosome. Normally, one copy of the gene on the X chromosome is disabled in females, but not in KDM6A.
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