The essential prerequisite to the proper functioning of innate immunity is the “turning on” of the protein PI3-kinase. Once PI3-kinase is activated, the immune response is triggered, leading to the production of type I interferons, the spearhead of innate immunity, which destroy the body’s invaders. This discovery opens up new therapeutic prospects since it may suggest ways of restoring the function of innate immunity, which is overactivated in autoimmune diseases and inhibited in certain cancers. This work is published in the 18 February 2008 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
The body is often faced with attacks from outside (viral or bacterial infection) and sometimes from inside, because of the dysfunction of its own cells (cancer), and defends itself by activating its immune system. There are two types of defence. The first is innate immunity: this has no memory, and is permanently on guard to detect and destroy abnormal cells, tumor cells, or virus-infected cells. The second, which takes longer to initiate, is adaptive immunity, which specifically targets an invader. This response requires a education phase during which the cells of the immune system learn to recognize their enemy.
Dendritic cells, the body’s “sentinels”, are the first line of defence against invading pathogens: they recognize viruses and bacteria and then trigger an immune response, which, depending on the case, may be innate or adaptive. In response to an intruder, the so-called plasmacytoid dendritic cells can either produce large amounts of interferons, molecules that trigger a rapid response against viral infections, or “specialize” and become cells able to teach the immune system to recognize the pathogens.
At the Institut Curie, Vassili Soumelis(2) and his team (“Immunity and Cancer”, Inserm/Institut Curie Unit 653) have discovered how the dendritic cells choose between the two types of immune response. First, whatever the response, the presence of an intruder stimulates the TLR receptor inside the dendritic cells. Only then is the choice made between the two types of response. The PI3-kinase signaling pathway is activated, and the innate response is triggered. Kinase PI3 is the switch that turns on a whole cascade of proteins inside the cell. Information on the presence of an intruder in the body is thus transmitted to its final destination, in the cell’s nucleus, where the protein IRF-7 (transcription factor) modifies the expression of specific genes and so alters the cell’s behavior. In this specific case, IRF-7 induces the production of type 1 interferons (interferon-alpha, for example), which will bring about the destruction of the viruses and strongly activate various cells of the immune system.
Vassili Soumelis MD, PhD at the Institut Curie explains: “Activation of the protein PI3-kinase is one of the very first steps needed for the production of large quantities of type 1 interferons, leading to the triggering or strengthening of the innate immune response.”
In certain autoimmune diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus(3) or Sjögren’s syndrome(4), this innate response overstimulated, leading to an abnormal defense reaction of the immune system, which attacks its own cells, tissues, or organs. In some cancers, on the other hand, the innate response is virtually absent.
It may be that the cancer cells are able to block the PI3-kinase signaling pathway. Through this discovery, Vassili Soumelis and his collaborators hope, in time, to develop new treatments for use in autoimmune diseases and oncology. By acting on PI3-kinase, it may be possible to adapt the innate response, so as to inhibit it in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and boost it in cancer treatment.
Céline Giustranti | alfa
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy