Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Papillomavirus silences innate immune response

07.12.2009
In the 1980s, Harald zur Hausen and his co-workers discovered that specific types of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause cervical cancer. Scientists soon found out how these pathogens cause cells to degenerate. It is known today that the main culprits are viral proteins E6 and E7. Both proteins switch off different cellular control functions, thus promoting cell growth.

Professor Dr. Frank Rösl and his co-workers at DKFZ have now discovered another mechanism by which the E6 oncoprotein of high-risk HPV16 promotes carcinogenesis. The oncogene silences production of an immune protein called interferon-kappa.

Interferons are proteins which are part of our immune system and are responsible primarily for stimulating the immune response to viruses and tumors. Interferons are produced by white blood cells and other cell types. Interferon-kappa is relevant for HPV infections, because it is produced mainly in cells of the skin and mucosa (keratinocytes) which are the preferred hosts of the viruses. If interferon-kappa is not working in cells, other proteins involved in immune defense also cease to function properly.

Dr. Bladimiro Rincon-Orozco of Rösl's team has now shown for the first time that HPV16 switches off the interferon-kappa gene by biochemical modification of DNA. Such alterations of the genetic material are called epigenetic mutations. Studying HPV infected cells in a culture dish, the research team observed that interferon-kappa is epigenetically silenced. They were later able to confirm this result in cervical cancer tissue samples.

"Interferon-kappa is an important part of what is called innate immunity," Frank Rösl explains. Using this evolutionary old defense mechanism, the body can defend itself immediately after being infected with pathogenic agents, while formation of the specific "acquired" immune system may take some time. "By switching off the interferon production, the viruses prevent infected cells from being destroyed by this type of immune response," says Rösl, explaining the strategy of the virus that causes cancer. In the next step, the researchers are planning to investigate whether administering interferon-kappa can slow down the growth of cervical cancer cells and may thus support treatment of the disease.

Legend: Electron micrograph of human papilloma viruses

Credit: Hanswalter Zentgraf, German Cancer Research Center

Bladimiro Rincon-Orozco, Gordana Halec, Simone Rosenberger, Dorothea Muschik, Ingo Nindl, Anastasia Bachmann, Tina Maria Ritter, Bolormaa Dondog, Regina Ly, Franz X. Bosch, Rainer Zawatzky und Frank Rösl: Epigenetic Silencing of Interferon-κ in Human Papillomavirus Type 16–Positive Cells. Cancer Res 2009; 69: (22) November 15, 2009

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany and is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers. More than 2,000 staff members, including 850 scientists, are investigating the mechanisms of cancer and are working to identify cancer risk factors. They provide the foundations for developing novel approaches in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. In addition, the staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. The Center is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90%) and the State of Baden-Württemberg (10%).

Dr. Sibylle Kohlstädt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dkfz.de
http://www.dkfz.de/de/presse/pressemitteilungen/2009/images/HPV_1.jpg

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

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...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

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,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>