St. Jude/Johns Hopkins discovery suggests that manipulating levels of Lag-3 protein on T regulatory cells might prevent autoimmune diseases or amplify immune system attacks on cancer cells
The discovery that the Lag-3 gene acts as a brake to prevent immune system responses from running out of control solves a mystery that has puzzled researchers since the gene was discovered 14 years ago. A report on this discovery, from investigators at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, is published in the October issue of the journal Immunity. The researchers solved the mystery of what Lag-3 does by showing that the gene permits so-called regulatory T cells to act as brakes on the immune system.
Regulatory T cells, which carry the Lag-3 protein on their surfaces, interfere with the action of effector T cells--the "warrior" cells that orchestrate attacks on specific targets in the body, such as cancer cells and microorganisms.
Bonnie Cameron | EurekAlert!
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