Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

NIH Scientists Uncover How Immune Cells Sense Who They Are

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Scientists demonstrates that "junk" DNA plays a critical role in immune system response.

Scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, have demonstrated that DNA previously thought to be "junk" plays a critical role in immune system response.

The team's findings were published in Cell and may lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of immune-related disorders.

There are 3.2 billion DNA base pairs in the human genome, but only 2 percent are in the regions we call genes, which provide the code for proteins.

Up until recently, the role of the rest of the genome was mostly unknown and overlooked.

NIH researchers used whole genome DNA sequencing technology that allowed them to "see" which part of the genomic DNA is actively engaged in supporting various cellular functions.

The investigators found that members of the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) protein family play a major role in shaping the identity of the immune system's T helper cells.

Importantly, when studying the impact of "junk" DNA, they saw that this greater than expected role was made possible by the STAT proteins’ regulation of enhancer activity.

Enhancers are short DNA regions that are outside the genes, but regulate gene transcription. While enhancers do not directly code for proteins, they regulate the protein production process.

This work provides an example of how the cellular environment helps determine cell identity.

Specifically, the research team demonstrated that STAT proteins act as cellular environmental sensors that, by regulating enhancers residing in the "junk" region of the genome, determine what subtype a T cell becomes.

The present work should help clarify how these switches may relate to genetic risk of immune diseases.

Lead author John O’Shea, M.D., the NIAMS’ scientific director and chief of the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, is available to comment on these findings.
 
The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.


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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ 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

Tick Genome Reveals Secrets of a Successful Bloodsucker
NIH-funded study could lead to new tick control methods.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Natural Protein Points to New Inflammation Treatment
Findings may offer insight to effective treatments for inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Friday, February 05, 2016
Cancer Drug Target Visualized at Atomic Resolution
New study using cryo-electron microscopy shows how potential drugs could inhibit cancer.
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response
An international consortium of scientists has identified a stretch of chromosome that is associated with responsiveness to the mood-stabilizing medication lithium among patients with bipolar disorder.
Monday, February 01, 2016
Schizophrenia’s Strongest Known Genetic Risk Deconstructed
Suspect gene may trigger runaway synaptic pruning during adolescence – NIH-funded study.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Experimental Combination Surprises with Anti-HIV Effectiveness
A compound developed to protect the nervous system from HIV surprised researchers by augmenting the effectiveness of an investigational antiretroviral drug beyond anything expected.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Dengue Vaccine Enters Phase 3 Trial
Investigational vaccine to prevent ‘breakbone fever’ developed at NIH.
Friday, January 15, 2016
NIH Genome Sequencing Program Targets the Genomic Bases of Common, Rare Disease
The National Institutes of Health will fund a set of genome sequencing and analysis centers whose research will focus on understanding the genomic bases of common and rare human diseases.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Trying to Conceive Soon After a Pregnancy Loss May Increase Chances of Live Birth
NIH study finds no reason for delaying pregnancy attempts after a loss without complications.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Three Glaucoma-Related Genes Discovered
NIH-funded genetics analysis of glaucoma is largest to date.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
NIH-funded Memory Drug Moves into Phase 1 Clinical Study
Collaboration between NIH and Tetra Discovery Partners leads to development of treatment that may affect cognition.
Monday, January 04, 2016
International Study Reveals New Genetic Clues to AMD
NIH-funded research provides framework for future studies of AMD biology, therapy.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
NIH Unveils FY2016–2020 Strategic Plan
Detailed plan sets course for advancing scientific discoveries and human health.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Biomarkers Outperform Symptoms in Parsing Psychosis Subgroups
Multiple biological pathways lead to similar symptoms - NIH-funded study.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Scientific News
Microdroplet Reactors Mimic Living Systems
Researchers use microdroplets to study non-equilibrium reactions like those in living organisms.
NIH Researchers Identify Striking Genomic Signature for Cancer
Institute has identified striking signature shared by five types of cancer.
CRI Develops Innovative Approach for Identifying Lung Cancer
Institute has developed innovative approach for identifying processes that fuel tumor growth in lung cancer patients.
Envigo Rat Models Proven to be Susceptible to Intra-Vaginal HSV-2 Infection and Protectable
Scientific findings establish the effectiveness of new approach to investigate the protective effects of vaccine candidates and anti-viral microbodies and to study asymptomatic primary genital HSV-2 infection.
What do Banana Peels and Human Skin Have in Common?
Human skin and banana peels have something in common: they produce the same enzyme when attacked. By studying fruit, researchers have come up with an accurate method for diagnosing the stages of this form of skin cancer.
The Spice of Life
Scientists discover important genetic source of human diversity.
Cytoskeleton Crew
Findings confirm sugar's role in helping cancers survive by changing cellular architecture.
The Power of Three
Overlooked portion of cell “death receptor” critical in some cancers, autoimmune diseases.
Drug that Activates Innate Immune System Identified
Researchers from the institute have identified a drug, which is straightforward to synthesize and to couple to antigens that induce an immune response and may prove useful in the generation of vaccines.
Removing Race from Human Genetic Research
A group of scientists are urging their colleagues to take a step forward and stop using racial categories when researching and studying human genetics.
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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!