Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A protein sequence associated with Huntington's disease may become life-saving vaccine component

12.06.2008
On June 10, 2008 the scientific journal "Vaccine" published a paper by the Massachusetts based biotech company Cure Lab, Inc., demonstrating that a protein sequence important in neurodegenerative Huntington's disease can be safely used as a new generation of vaccine adjuvants.

The major component of every vaccine is an antigen that elicits specific immunity to a particular virus, bacteria or even cancer cells. Search for better antigens is one of the most pressing medical and public health necessities, and the biotech industry invests heavily in this research.

However, antigens are able to generate a limited immune response if administered alone. In order to be protective or therapeutic, vaccine compositions have to be supplemented with adjuvants, strong facilitators of the immune response. In the search for efficient adjuvants that are also non-toxic, scientists at Cure Lab, Inc. discovered a novel paradigm that capitalizes on insights from recent breakthroughs in understanding the fatal neurodegenerative disorder, Huntington's.

Huntington's disease results from mutations in the protein huntingtin, which contains a sequence of polyglutamine residues (polyQ). In healthy individuals, huntingtin contains less than 35 glutamines in the polyQ segment. However, in neurons of Huntington's patients, the number of glutamine residues in the sequence expands to more than 36. This induces protein self-aggregation, or formation of big protein "chunks", and eventually causes neuronal dysfunction. Recent research findings indicate that attachment of a prolonged polyQ segment to almost any protein promotes its aggregation.

... more about:
»Adjuvant »Antigen »ERA »Huntington' »Protein »Vaccine »polyQ »sequence

"There were two ideas - said Alex Shneider, Cure Lab's founder and CEO- which stimulated us to test if attachment of a long polyQ "tail" to an antigen can enhance immune response to vaccination". First, he noticed that small aggregates formed by an antigen fused to a polyQ tail resembled the droplets that conventional adjuvants formed with antigenic peptides exposed on their surface. Dr. Shneider hypothesized that these polyQ containing aggregates were easily taken up by antigen-presenting cells, as is the case with adjuvant droplets, triggering the immune response.

Another hypothesis was proposed by Michael Sherman, professor at Boston University Medical School and scientific consultant at Cure Lab. "We knew- said Michael Sherman- that polyQ aggregates are destroyed in cells by a special degradation system, called autophagy. Interestingly, autophagy plays a key role in the processing of certain antigens, which is critical for the immune response. So, attachment of a polyQ tail should specifically target the antigen to autophagy, which in turn should facilitate the response. Thus, polyQ would serve as a molecular adjuvant".

There are two branches to the immune system. One is responsible for developing antibodies against bacteria, viruses and toxins freely circulating in the organism. Another is aimed at eliminating virus-infected or cancer cells. Cure Lab's paper demonstrates that the new polyQ-based adjuvant efficiently enhances both branches of the immune response to a poor model antigen. Importantly, the adjuvant caused no apparent toxicity in mice.

Many questions remain to be answered. The adjuvant properties of the polyQ tail will have to be tested for each individual antigen of medical and veterinary importance. However, this work may launch a new era in vaccine development, the era of molecular adjuvants.

Alex Shneider | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.curelab.com

Further reports about: Adjuvant Antigen ERA Huntington' Protein Vaccine polyQ sequence

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>