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 Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>