Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Immunology
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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ 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

Protecting the Body from Itself
Scientists advance understanding of autoimmunity with discovery of link between major immune cell types.
Friday, September 26, 2014
New Possibilities for Leukaemia Therapy with a Novel Mode of Cancer Cell Recognition
A new class of lipids in human leukaemia cells trigger an immune response to kill the cells.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
A*STAR, NUS and NUH Join Forces to Understand Immune Erosion in Elderly
The collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur aims to study the loss of immunity and consequent reduced responsiveness to vaccination in elderly.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Scientists Find a Promising Way To Boost The Body’s Immune Surveillance Via p53
Researchers at A*STAR have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Novel Mechanism Discovered in First Line of Immune Defence
Discovery opens doors to developing new therapies to eradicate tumour cells and combat infections.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
New Strategy to Disarm the Dengue Virus Brings New Hope for a Universal Dengue Vaccine
A new strategy that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system has been discovered by A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN).
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Breakthroughs in Chikungunya Research Spell New Hope for Better Treatment and Protection
A*STAR's SIgN have made great strides in the battle against the infectious disease.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Scientific News
Iron Nanoparticles Make Immune Cells Attack Cancer
Researchers accidentally discover that nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment can trigger the immune system’s ability to destroy tumor cells.
Uncovering Cancer’s ‘Invisibility Cloak’
Researchers discover cancer cell mechanism to become invisible to the body's immune system.
Treating Sepsis with Marine Mitochondria
Mitochondrial alternative oxidase from a marine animal combats bacterial sepsis.
Culex Mosquitoes Do Not Transmit Zika
A study of the Culex species mosquito appears to show that the species does not transmit Zika virus.
Bacteria Use Ranking Strategy to Fight Off Viruses
Researchers have explained why microbes store virus confrontation information sequentially, with most recent attacks first.
Molecular Switch Aids Immune Therapy
Researchers identify strategy to maximise effectiveness of immune therapy through molecular switch controlling immune suppression.
Reprogramming Lymph Nodes to Fight MS
Bioengineers work to reprogram lymph node function to fight multiple sclerosis.
Antibodies Block Norovirus’ Entrance into Cells
Scientists have uncovered a mechanism in the human body that targets and successfully blocks noroviruses.
Probe Detects Histone Modifications in Cells
Scientists have developed an antibody probe that can be used to monitor the dynamics of histone modification.
Gut Pathogens Thrive on Body's Tissue-Repair Mechanism
Researcher have discovered that harm caused by pathogens in the intestinal tract benefit from immune system response to damaged intestinal lining.
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!