Twenty-five per cent of Crohn's disease patients have a mutation in what is called the NOD2 gene, but it is not precisely known how this mutation influences the disease.
The latest study by Dr. Marcel Behr, of the Research Institute of the MUHC and McGill University, has provided new insight into how this might occur. The study will be published on July 9th in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
When the NOD2 gene functions normally, it codes for a receptor that will recognize invading bacteria and then trigger the immune response. This study demonstrates that the NOD2 receptor preferentially recognizes a peptide called N-glycolyl-MDP, which is only found in a specific family of bacteria called mycobacteria. When mycobacteria invade the human body, they cause an immediate and very strong immune response via the NOD2 receptor.
"Now that we have a better understanding of the normal role of NOD2, we think that a mutation in this gene prevents mycobacteria from being properly recognized by the immune system," explained Dr. Behr. "If mycobacteria are not recognized, the body cannot effectively fight them off and then becomes persistently infected."
Researchers were already aware of the relationship between mycobacteria and Crohn's disease, but they did not know whether the presence of bacteria was a cause or a consequence of the disease. This new discovery associates the predisposition for Crohn's disease with both the NOD2 mutation and the presence of mycobacteria, but researchers must still determine the precise combination of these factors to understand how the disease develops.
More research is required to establish a complete explanation. From this, it is expected that new therapeutic approaches that fight the cause of Crohn's disease may be developed
Dr. Marcel Behr
Dr. Marcel Behr is a researcher in the Infection and Immunity Axis at the Research Institute of the MUHC and an Associate Professor of Medicine and William Dawson Scholar of McGill University.
This study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The salaries of some researchers were provided by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec.
This article was co-authored by François Coulombe, Maziar Divanghi, Frédéric Veyrier, Louis de Léséleuc, Dr. Michael B. Reed and Dr Marcel Behr from the Research Institute of the MUHC; James L. Gleason of McGill University; and Yibin Yang, Michelle A. Kelliher, Amit K. Pandey, and Christopher M. Sassetti of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Isabelle Kling | EurekAlert!
Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences