Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biologics & Bioprocessing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Understanding and Improving the Body's Fight Against Pathogens

Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Bookmark and Share
A*STAR scientists find new targets for modulating antibody response.

Scientists from A*STAR's Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) have uncovered the crucial role of two signalling molecules, DOK3 and SHP1, in the development and production of plasma cells. These discoveries, published in two prestigious journals PNAS and Nature Communications, advance the understanding of plasma cells and the antibody response, and may lead to optimization of vaccine development and improved treatment for patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus and tumours such as multiple myeloma.

While they exist in small populations in humans, the large amounts of antibodies secreted by plasma cells make them key to the body's immune system and its ability to defend itself against pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. Proper maintenance of a pool of plasma cells is also critical for the establishment of lifelong immunity elicited by vaccination.

Dysregulation of plasma cell production and maintenance could lead to autoimmune diseases and multiple myeloma. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system does not distinguish between healthy tissue and antigens, which are found in pathogens.

This results in expansion of plasma cells which produce excessive amounts of antibodies leading to destruction of one's own healthy tissue. The discoveries by scientists in BTI's Immunology Group have improved understanding of the mechanism by which plasma cells are developed from a major class of white blood cells called B cells.

For the first time, the molecule DOK3 was found to play an important role in formation of plasma cells. While calcium signalling typically controls a wide range of cellular processes that allow cells to adapt to changing environments, it was found to inhibit the expression of the membrane proteins essential for plasma cell formation.

These membrane proteins include PDL1 and PDL2, and represent some of the key targets for the development of immunotherapy by pharmaceutical companies. DOK3 was able to promote the production of plasma cells by reducing the effects of calcium signalling on these membrane proteins. The absence of DOK3 would thus result in defective plasma cell formation.

In another study, BTI scientists discovered the importance of SHP1 signalling to the long term survival of plasma cells. While the molecule SHP1 has a proven role in prevention of autoimmune diseases, it was found that the absence of SHP1 would result in the failure of plasma cells to migrate from the spleen where they are generated to the bone marrow, a survival niche where they are able to survive for much longer periods.

This could result in a reduction of the body's immune response and thus, an increased susceptibility to infections and diseases. The scientists in this study also successfully rectified the defective immune response caused by an absence of SHP1 by applying antibody injections, which might advance the development of therapeutics. On the other hand, targeting SHP1 might be a strategy to treat multiple myeloma where the accumulation of cancerous plasma cells in the bone marrow survival niches is undesirable.

Findings hold potential for improved treatment

The discovery of these new targets for modulating the antibody response allows the development of novel therapeutic strategies for patients with autoimmune diseases and cancer. Understanding the mechanism that governs plasma cell differentiation is also critical for the optimal design of vaccines and adjuvants, which are added to vaccines to boost the body's immune response.

Prof Lam Kong Peng, Executive Director of BTI, said, "These findings allow better understanding of plasma cells and their role in the immune system. The identification of these targets not only paves the way for development of therapeutics for those with autoimmune diseases and multiple myeloma, but also impacts the development of immunological agents for combating infections."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

High Capacity Antibody Purification
Researchers from the A*Star Bioprocessing Technology Institute have used magnetic nanoparticles to break the capacity barrier for antibody purification.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
A*STAR Scientist Alex Matter Awarded Prestigious Szent-Gyorgyi Prize For Progress In Cancer Research
National Foundation for Cancer Research honours Professor Alex Matter with esteemed award for groundbreaking cancer pill that gives leukaemia patients a new lease of life.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Unique Anti-reflective and Self-cleaning Plastic Films to be Ramped Up for Industry Use
Scientists from A*STAR's IMRE will partner companies to develop, prototype and conduct pilot large scale manufacturing of nanoimprinted materials with better performance and at potentially lower cost than current production methods.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Scientific News
Developing a More Precise Seasonal Flu Vaccine
During the 2014-15 flu season, the poor match between the virus used to make the world’s vaccine stocks and the circulating seasonal virus yielded a vaccine that was less than 20 percent effective.
Fighting Cancer with Borrowed Immunity
A new step in cancer immunotherapy: researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and University of Oslo/Oslo University Hospital show that even if one's own immune cells cannot recognize and fight their tumors, someone else's immune cells might.
Modified Microalgae Converts Sunlight into Valuable Medicine
A special type of microalgae can soon produce valuable chemicals such as cancer treatment drugs and much more just by harnessing energy from the sun.
Immune Cells Remember Their First Meal
Scientists at the University of Bristol have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response – a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases.
Paper Filter Can Remove Viruses from Water
A new paper filter can purify water from viruses, even the most difficult and contagious.
Large-scale HIV Vaccine Trial to Launch in South Africa
NIH-funded study will test safety, efficacy of vaccine regimen.
New HIV Vaccine Target Discovered
NIH-Led team have discovered a new vaccine target site on HIV.
Mimicking Evolution to Create Novel Proteins
A study by researchers in the Kuhlman lab offers a new route to design the 'cellular machines' needed to understand and battle diseases.
Antibody Therapy Opens Door to Potential New Treatment for HIV
Researchers at Rockefeller University show how a broadly neutralizing antibody could be used to help fight HIV.
Investigational Malaria Vaccine Protects Healthy U.S. Adults
Researchers at NIH have found that the malaria vaccine protected a small number of healthy, malaria-naïve adults in the U.S. from infection for more than one year after immunization.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!