Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key protein molecule linked to diverse human chronic inflammatory diseases

17.09.2008
Liwu Li, associate professor of biological sciences at Virginia Tech, has revealed a common connection between the cellular innate immunity network and human chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. The finding presents a viable cellular and molecular target for the diagnosis and treatment of serious human inflammatory diseases, according to Li.

"Researchers and physicians have long recognized that there is an association between these conditions. For example, obesity increases the risk of heart attack or stroke, Type 2 Diabetes or insulin resistance, and Alzheimer's Disease," said Li, who is the founding director of the Inflammation Center at Virginia Tech.

"Inflammation is the common mechanism," he said. "Inflammation is a double-edged sword. Proper inflammation is necessary to fend off infection and abnormal cell growth. On the other hand, excessive inflammation contributes to diverse chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, and lupus." However, the complex cellular and molecular networks controlling inflammation are still poorly understood, he said. "The lack of understanding impedes our progress in treating serious chronic inflammatory diseases."

In a series of studies published throughout the last decade*, Li's group has defined several critical signaling networks essential for the modulation of inflammation. In particular, a key cellular protein kinase named interlukin-1 receptor associated kinase 1 (IRAK-1) was shown to be critical for processing diverse inflammatory signals, including microbial products, cytokines, and insulin. Li's group discovered that excessive IRAK-1 activation is linked with the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes. Using transgenic mice without the IRAK-1 gene, Li's group demonstrated that IRAK-1 deficient mice are protected from developing atherosclerosis and insulin resistance.

At the molecular level, Li's laboratory discovered that IRAK-1 prefers to phosphorylate transcription factors harboring the Serine-Proline motif including STAT-3 and NFAT. Subsequently, STAT-3 and NFAT are involved in modulating the expression of distinct inflammatory mediators responsible for the excessive activation of specialized macrophages and T cells. These cells eventually contribute to diverse inflammatory symptoms including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer's diseases, and lupus. "Chemical compounds targeting this molecule will have enormous therapeutic potential," Li said.

"There is still a long way to go for finding the actual cure for these diseases," he said. "That is why we are combining expertise from various disciplines, including experimental biology and computational simulation. The Inflammation Center integrates faculties with expertise in experimental molecular biology, cutting edge imaging of inflamed cells and tissues, computational simulation of cellular signaling networks, human and animal studies, and nano-technologies designing novel intervention."

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) filed a patent application for Li's discovery and its use as a diagnostic tool and treatment strategy. "This technology will still take some time before there is a product," said Li.

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>