Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Penn study finds a new role for RNA in human immune response

24.08.2005


Findings could lead to new types of therapeutic RNAs for cancer, genetic diseases



Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have published the first study to test the role of RNA chemical modifications on immunity. They have demonstrated that RNA from bacteria stimulates immune cells to orchestrate destruction of invading pathogens. Most RNA from human cells is recognized as being self and does not stimulate an immune response to the same extent as invading bacteria or viruses. The researchers hypothesize that if this self-recognition fails, then autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus could result.

The research was a collaborative work led by Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Katalin Karikó, PhD, of the Department of Neurosurgery. The investigators published their findings in the August issue of Immunity. "We think this study will open a new area of research in understanding how our immune systems protect us," says Weissman.


"One application of our findings is that scientists will be able to design better therapeutic RNAs, including anti-sense or small-interfering RNAs, for treating diseases such as cancer and single-gene genetic diseases," says Karikó.

RNA is the genetic material that programs cells to make proteins from DNA’s blueprint and specifies which proteins should be made. There are many types of RNA in the cells of mammals, such as transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, messenger RNA, and all of them have specific types of chemical tags, or modifications. In contrast, RNAs from bacteria have fewer or no modifications.

Another type of RNA in mammalian cells is found in mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. Mitochondrial RNA is thought to have originated from bacteria millions of years ago. Similar to RNA from bacteria, mitochondrial RNA has fewer chemical tags. It is the absence of modifications that causes RNA from bacteria and mitochondria to activate the immune response. The researchers suggest that these modifications have evolved in animals as one of the ways for the innate immune system to discriminate self from non-self.

When a tissue is damaged by injury, infection, or inflammation, cells release their mitochondrial RNA. This RNA acts as a signal to the immune system to recognize the damage and help defend and repair the tissue.

Conversely, the presence of the modifications on the other types of RNA does not activate an immune response and thus allows the innate immune system to discriminate self from non-self. "We showed that special proteins on the surface of immune cells, called Toll-like receptors, are instrumental in recognizing bacterial and mitochondrial RNA," explains Weissman. The amount of modification on the RNA is important because as little as one or two tags per RNA molecule could prevent or suppress the immune reaction.

The authors concluded that the potential of RNA to activate immunity seems to be inversely correlated with the extent of its chemical modification and may explain why some viral RNA that is overly modified evades immune surveillance. The authors plan to investigate whether longer RNAs with specific tags will be useful for delivering therapeutic molecules to diseased cells.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

nachricht Warming temperatures threaten sea turtles
22.06.2017 | Swansea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

New 3-D display takes the eye fatigue out of virtual reality

22.06.2017 | Information Technology

New technique makes brain scans better

22.06.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>