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
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy