The finding, published online Sunday, Aug. 23, by the journal Nature Immunology, could lead to new therapies for human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A (commonly known as flu), both of which are serious threats to people with weak immune systems, particularly infants up to age 1 and senior citizens age 65 and older.
“This molecule could be used to boost host immune defenses and stimulate vaccine efficacy against RSV and influenza A, especially among high-risk individuals,” said senior author Santanu Bose, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology. Dr. Bose’s laboratory team includes graduate student Ahmed Sabbath and research scientists Te-Hung Chang and Rosalinda Harnack.
Related to survival
The cellular molecule, called NOD2, recognizes these viruses and can instruct cells to defend against them. Researchers found that mice lacking the sensor survive for only 10 days after infection, compared with up to eight weeks for normal animals.
Identifying this sensor and understanding its key role could result in therapies that activate the NOD2 gene during or prior to infection, leading to enhanced protective immunity. The NOD2 sensor also has the potential to recognize other viruses, such as West Nile virus, yellow fever, Ebola and rabies.
Dr. Bose has multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Lung Association to continue this line of research. “In the future, studies will gear up to find out if NOD2 is a susceptibility gene for respiratory viruses, since frequent mutation of this gene has been found in humans,” he said.
Potential clinical use
Once the study is designed and clinical partner affiliations are reached, the Bose team hopes to draw blood from severely infected, moderately infected and non-infected patients to test for levels of the sensor, which would allow predictions as to how individuals might respond to respiratory viral infections.
“This is a major breakthrough in understanding respiratory virus behavior and innate immune antiviral factors, and provides the basis for innovative therapies to improve host responses to infectious diseases,” said Joel Baseman, Ph.D., professor and chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Health Science Center.
Dr. Baseman said microbiology and immunology faculty members in the university’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are doing fundamental and translational research that is the basis for the establishment of an airway disease research and vaccine center. The group includes Dr. Bose’s co-authors on the NOD2 paper, Peter Dube, Ph.D., and Yan Xiang, Ph.D.
About The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio:
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 26,400 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields.
| Newswise Science News
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy