Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The Immune Cells with the Built-In Blocker

The molecule GPR83 can turn killer cells into peacemakers

Researchers in Braunschweig have tracked down a natural inhibitor mechanism in our immune system. The molecule, known as GPR83, can block over-reactions by our immune system's defenses before these damage body tissues, according to scientists at the German Research Centre for Biotechnology (GBF). GPR83 manages to do this by switching immune cells from their aggressive defense posture into a more docile mode. A breakdown of this mechanism, the researchers say, could play a role in auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Type-1 diabetes, as well as in host defense against severe infections. A summary of the findings has been published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Immunology.

A constant back-and-forth between the encouragement and inhibition of signals directs the activities of the human immune system. When bacteria or viruses enter the human organism, immune cells must be in a position to act swiftly and effectively against the invaders. That is why immune responses have the tendency to quickly accelerate into overdrive with self-amplifying mechanisms, even when the threat is minor. In the case of a false alarm, this can lead to an attack on the body's own tissue and, in turn, cause serious damage. For this reason, it is indispensable that the immune system has specific inhibitor mechanisms to subdue over-reactions.

T cells are among the most potent defenders of the immune cells, which among others things can kill infected cells. "Some T cells appear to possess a built-in blocker on their surfaces," explains GBF researcher Dr. Wiebke Hansen. "The molecule GPR83 serves as a receptor - as a kind of antenna - that responds to strong immune system over-reactions. When GPR83 is activated, the T cells do not become killers but are transformed into docile regulatory T cells - TREGs for short," says Dr. Hansen. From then on, they induce an immune tolerance by deactivating other T cells. "However, just who in the body is stepping on the brakes, and under what circumstances, still has to be clarified more thoroughly," she says.

For the Braunschweig researchers, studying the functions and impact of the GPR83 T cell inhibitor is promising. "If, at some point, we are able to find a way to stimulate GPR83 with drugs, this could be used to treat over-reactions or malfunctions of the immune system; for example, in the case of auto-immune diseases and chronic inflammations," notes the GBF work group leader, Prof. Jan Buer. By contrast, a targeted blocking of GPR83 would make the immune system more aggressive, and that, says Buer, could some day be interesting for treating severe infections, or for tumor therapy.

Manfred Braun | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>