Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Inflammation’s trigger finger


A molecule found in nearly all cells plays a vital role in kick-starting the production of key biological molecules involved in inflammation, a group of Salk Institute scientists has discovered. The finding, published in the June 25 issue of Science, may lead to new strategies for blocking the devastating inflammation that lies at the heart of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, lupus as well as some cancers.

When the cells of the body are confronted with toxic chemicals or disease-causing organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, the immune system mobilizes rapidly to produce an inflammatory response. This army of chemical and cellular defenses is unleashed through a complex chain of molecular events, triggered by master control proteins. These control proteins act as recruiting officers, rallying other proteins to set up the inflammatory defense. One of the most important molecular sergeants is a protein called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), which can order the production of scores of defensive proteins.

But NF-kB can’t work alone; it requires the help of a complicated complex of other proteins. A team of scientists which included Jeanette Ducut Sigalla, Virgine Bottero and Inder Verma from the Salk Institute together with colleagues from CellGene found that a protein called ELKS is a crucial member of this complex. Verma’s team determined that when ELKS was missing, NF-kB was unable to activate the production of proteins involved in inflammation.

"NF-kB is a major cell survival signaling molecule, but it needs to be induced," said Verma. "It normally is found in an inactive form in nearly all cells, but in response to external signals, encourages inflammatory responses and only triggers those responses when it receives the right messages. ELKS is one of the essential component of the complex, without which NF-kB can’t function."

Inflammation is central to the body’s generalized defensive response, attacking any invader in the same way by boosting blood flow and recruiting specialized cells to attack and destroy the invading organisms. In some diseases, however, the immune system misfires and attacks the body, inflaming nerve, liver, muscle and other cells.

Because of its central role in initiating inflammation, NF-kB is being intensely scrutinized by pharmaceutical researchers looking for new therapies for autoimmune diseases like lupus and arthritis, and other diseases such as cancer. However, it is a difficult target for drug intervention because it is a vital component of most cells in the body; curbing its activity could kill all cells, including healthy ones. Verma and his group hope that by pinpointing other molecules that help NF-kB do its job, they may find new ways of stopping inappropriate inflammation.

Andrew Porterfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>