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

Blocking a Key Protein Gives Boost to Immune System

Published: Monday, April 15, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, April 15, 2013
Bookmark and Share
UCLA scientists have shown that temporarily blocking a protein critical to immune response actually helps the body clear itself of chronic infection.

Published in the April 12 edition of the journal Science, the finding suggests new approaches to treating persistent viral infections like HIV and hepatitis C.

The research team studied type-1 interferons (IFN-1), proteins released by cells in response to disease-causing organisms. These proteins enable cells to talk to each other and orchestrate an immune response against infection. Constant IFN-1 signaling is also a trademark of chronic viral infection and disease progression, particularly in HIV.

"When cells confront viruses, they produce type-1 interferons, which trigger the immune system's protective defenses and set off an alarm to notify surrounding cells," said principal investigator David Brooks, an assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "Type-1 interferon is like the guy in the watchtower yelling 'red alert' when the marauders try to raid the castle."

Scientists have long viewed IFN-1 as beneficial, because it stimulates antiviral immunity and helps control acute infection. Blocking IFN-1 activity, they reasoned, would allow infection to run rampant through the immune system.

On the other hand, prolonged IFN-1 signaling is linked to many chronic immune problems. The research team wondered whether obstructing the signaling pathway would enable the immune system to recover enough to fight off chronic infection.

To test this theory, Brooks and his colleagues injected mice suffering from chronic viral infection with an antibody that temporarily blocked IFN-1 activity.

Much to their surprise, they discovered that giving the immune system a holiday from IFN-1 boosted the body's ability to fight the virus. Stunningly, the respite also reversed many of the immune problems that result from chronic infection, such as a rise in proteins that suppress immune response, continuous activation of the immune system and disruption of lymph tissue.

The findings fly in the face of past studies that suggest eliminating IFN-1 activity in mice leads to severe, lifelong infection.

"What we saw was entirely illogical," Brooks admitted. "We'd blocked something critical for infection control and expected the immune system to lose the fight against infection. Instead, the temporary break in IFN-1 signaling improved the immune system's ability to control infection. Our next step will be to figure out why and how to harness it for therapies to treat humans."

"We suspect that halting IFN-1 activity is like pushing the refresh button," said first author Elizabeth Wilson, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher. "It gives the immune system time to reprogram itself and control the infection."

Uncovering this mechanism could offer potential for new therapies to tackle viruses like HIV and hepatitis C, according to Brooks. The team's next step will be to pinpoint how to sustain IFN-1's control of the virus while blocking the negative impact that chronic IFN-1 activity wreaks on the immune system.


Further Information
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 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ 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

Industry-Sponsored Academic Inventions Spur Increased Innovation
Analysis questions assumption that corporate support skews science toward inventions that are less useful than those funded by the government or non-profit organizations.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Structure of Key Pain-Related Protein Unveiled
In a technical tour de force, scientists have determined, at near-atomic resolution, the structure of a protein that plays a central role in the perception of pain and heat.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Chemical Signature for Fast Form of Parkinson's Found
The physical decline experienced by Parkinson's disease patients eventually leads to disability and a lower quality of life.
Monday, November 25, 2013
New Insights into How Proteins Regulate Genes
Researchers have developed a new way to parse and understand how special proteins called "master regulators" read the genome, and consequently turn genes on and off.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Cell Growth Discovery Has Implications for Targeting Cancer
The way cells divide to form new cells is controlled in previously unsuspected ways.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Discovery Could Lead to Saliva Test for Pancreatic Cancer
The disease is typically diagnosed through an invasive and complicated biopsy.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Tuberculosis and Parkinson’s Disease Linked by Unique Protein
UCSF researchers seek way to boost protein to fight both diseases.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Effects of Parkinson’s Disease Mutation Reversed in Cells
UCSF study used chemical commonly found in anti-wrinkle cream.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Dentistry School Receives $5M to Study Saliva Biomarkers
Imagine having a sample of your saliva taken at the dentist's office, and then learning within minutes whether your risk for stomach cancer is higher than normal.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Scientists Devise Innovative Method to Profile and Predict the Behavior of Proteins
A class of proteins that are made up of multiple, interlocking molecular components, enzymes perform a variety of tasks inside each cell.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Immune System Molecule Promotes Tumor Resistance
A team of scientists has shown for the first time that a signaling protein involved in inflammation also promotes tumor resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Failure to Destroy Toxic Protein Contributes to Progression of Huntington’s Disease
Gladstone-led study also finds target that boosts protein clearance, prolongs cell life.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Deadliest Cancers May Respond to New Drug Treatment Strategy
Researchers have found a way to knock down cancers caused by a tumor-driving protein called “myc,” paving the way for clinical trials.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Brain Anomolies are Potential Biomarkers for Autism
Brain anomalies may serve as potential biomarkers for the early identification of the neurodevelopmental disorder.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Second Amyloid May Play a Role in Alzheimer's
The study is the first to identify deposits of the protein, called amylin, in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Monday, July 01, 2013
Scientific News
Sorting Through Cellular Statistics
Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read the manual of life, DNA, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research.
First Artificial Ribosome Designed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell.
The Genetic Roots of Adolescent Scoliosis
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in collaboration with Keio University in Japan have discovered a gene that is linked to susceptibility of Scoliosis.
HIV Susceptibility Linked to Little-Understood Immune Cell Class
High levels of diversity among immune cells called natural killer cells may strongly predispose people to infection by HIV, and may be driven by prior viral exposures, according to a new study.
New Tech Enables Epigenomic Analysis with a Mere 100 Cells
A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer has been developed by researchers at Virginia Tech.
TOPLESS Plants Provide Clues to Human Molecular Interactions
Scientists at Van Andel Research Institute have revealed an important molecular mechanism in plants that has significant similarities to certain signaling mechanisms in humans, which are closely linked to early embryonic development and to diseases such as cancer.
Toxin from Salmonid Fish has Potential to Treat Cancer
Researchers from the University of Freiburg decode molecular mechanism of fish pathogen.
Study Finds Non-Genetic Cancer Mechanism
Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found.
Long-sought Discovery Fills in Missing Details of Cell 'Switchboard'
A biomedical breakthrough reveals never-before-seen details of the human body’s cellular switchboard that regulates sensory and hormonal responses.
Rice Disease-Resistance Discovery Closes the Loop for Scientific Integrity
Researchers reveal how disease resistant rice detects and responds to bacterial infections.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!