A new mechanism regulates type I interferon production in white blood cells
As testing for high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) emerges as the gold standard in cervical cancer prevention, scientists are already researching how to determine even more precisely who is most likely to develop the disease and thus are in need of more immediate intervention. Speaking at the EUROGIN (European Research Organization on Genital
Full Post: Researchers say identifying women with HPV types 16, 18 and 45 could improve early intervention to stop cervical cancer
A study from a team of researchers led by Dr. Andrew P. Makrigiannis, Director of the Molecular Immunology Research Unit at the IRCM, has identified a new mechanism regulating interferon production.
This discovery, co-authored by scientists from the International Medical Center of Japan (Tokyo), the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (Maryland) and the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance, was published on December 22, 2008 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine .
The plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) is a type of white blood cell. The primary function of this cell type is to produce type I interferon when the body is infected by a virus. The pDC has special surface receptors that can detect many types of viruses. Type I interferon is thus very important for the clearance of a viral infection. “Working with mice, we have identified a mechanism that regulates the amount of interferon that is produced by pDCs, explains Dr. Makrigiannis. That mechanism is a protein-protein interaction between surface receptor Ly49Q and the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule.”
It is known that viruses often cause a decrease of class I MHC molecules on cells. The team of scientists believes that the reason for this may be to stop interferon production by the pDCs. Thus, class I MHC recognition by Ly49Q on pDCs is necessary for the optimal activation of innate immune responses in vivo.
The discovery of this molecular strategy will very likely have a great impact in virology, and could eventually help physicians develop better therapeutic strategies to fight the infectious diseases afflicting their patients.
Dr. André Veillette, a researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), and his team led by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Mario-Ernesto Cruz-Munoz, will publish in the upcoming issue of the prestigious journal Nature Immunology of Nature Publishing Group. This discovery could have a significant impact on the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases.
Full Post: Breakthrough in treatment of cancers and infectious diseases
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have determined that the immune-system protein interferon plays a key role in “teaching” the immune system how to fight off repeated infections of the same virus. The findings, available online and in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology, have potential application in the development of more
Full Post: Interferon needed for cells to ‘remember’ how to defeat a virus
A very small fraction of our genetic material - about 2% - performs the crucial task scientists once thought was the sole purpose of the genome: to serve as a blueprint for the production of proteins, the molecules that make cells work and sustain life. This 2% of human DNA is converted into intermediary molecules
Full Post: Scientists uncover new RNA processing mechanism and a new class of small RNAs
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a new anti-tumor gene called SARI that can interact with and suppress a key protein that is overexpressed in 90 percent of human cancers. The discovery could one day lead to an effective gene therapy for cancer. According to Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., professor and chair of
Full Post: New anti-tumor gene called SARI
By mixing and matching a contemporary flu virus with the “Spanish flu” - a virus that killed between 20 and 50 million people 90 years ago in history’s most devastating outbreak of infectious disease - researchers have identified a set of three genes that helped underpin the extraordinary virulence of the 1918 virus. Writing today
Full Post: Scientists isolate genes that made 1918 flu lethal