Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How a virus hides from the immune system

09.12.2015

A new study by the group of Professor Sebastian Springer at Jacobs University helps explain how viruses manage to go undetected when they infect body cells. They have shown that the gp40 protein of the murine cytomegalovirus (mCMV) binds to cellular proteins that are essential for the antiviral immune defense and holds them back inside the cell. This blocks the immune response against mCMV.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules play a pivotal role in the immune defense against intracellular parasites, such as viruses. Inside the cell, they selectively bind small pieces of the virus that are generated during infection and transport them to the cell surface to display the infection to the immune system, a process called antigen presentation.

Specialized immune cells, the cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), can recognize those viral pieces and, in turn, kill the infected cell in order to fight the infection (see left part of figure).

It is not astonishing that many viruses aim to interfere with antigen presentation by MHC class I molecules to circumvent elimination. Herpesviruses are masters of immunoevasion and possess a series of multiple interfering proteins, the immunoevasins:

The gp40 protein of mCMV inhibits the transport of MHC class I molecules to the cell surface and thus viral recognition by CTL. Instead, MHC class I molecules are retained inside the cell (see right part of figure).

"We have shown for the first time that gp40 binds to MHC class I molecules", says Professor Springer. "We do not yet know how gp40 itself is kept inside the cell, but we believe that it uses another protein as some sort of anchor." The researchers identified a region in the gp40 protein, the linker, which probably binds to this unknown cellular retention factor (see right part of figure).

"It is an amazingly effective strategy for a virus to escape from the immune response", concludes Professor Springer. "Cytomegaloviruses and other herpesviruses infect humans and animals and cause many diseases. We need to understand more about immune escape so that effective treatments can be designed."

The findings will soon be published in the “Journal of Cell Science”. Linda Janßen, Venkat Raman Ramnarayan, Mohamed Aboelmagd, Maria Iliopoulou, Zeynep Hein, Irina Majoul, Susanne Fritzsche, Anne Halenius, and Sebastian Springer: “The murine cytomegalovirus immunoevasin gp40 binds MHC class I molecules to retain them in the early secretory pathway”, Journal of Cell Science, 2015. The study was financed in part by the Tönjes Vagt Foundation of Bremen.

Contact:
Sebastian Springer | Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
s.springer@jacobs-university.de | Tel.: +49 421 200- 3243

About Jacobs University:
Jacobs University is a private, independent, English-language university in Bremen. Young people from all over the world study there on Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD courses. Jacobs University is international and trans-discipline: research and teaching do not pursue one single pathway, but instead approach issues from the viewpoints of different disciplines. This is what makes Jacobs’ graduates highly sought-after for employment in successful international careers.

http://www.jacobs-university.de

Kristina Logemann | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>