Antibodies protect the body against diseases – but can also harm their own organism if the reactions are misdirected. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now discovered that a particular sugar in the antibodies determines whether one of the body’s own cells is destroyed or not. This result could lead to new treatment possibilities for patients with autoimmune diseases.
The immune system is our biological defense shield. Antibodies protect the organism against invading pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. In the case of certain autoimmune diseases, however, this defense behavior is misdirected: The antibodies don’t just target foreign substances; they also attack the body’s own cells. Once the antibody binds to the cell surface, they can activate specific proteins, so-called complement factors, which can damage the cell membrane and thus kill the cell.
Antikörper sind Y-förmig gebaute Moleküle. Zuckerstrukturen (rot), die an das Antikörperprotein gekoppelt sind, spielen eine wichtige Rolle für die Funktion von Antikörpern. Das Vorhandensein von Sialinsäure an dem Zucker führt dazu, dass Antikörper weniger stark ihre Zielzellen angreifen und zerstören. (Bild: UZH)
Sialic acid protects from antibody-induced cell killing
A team of researchers headed by Professor Jan Lünemann from the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich has now discovered that a particular sugar structure in the antibody plays a key role in the complement-dependent destruction of the body’s own tissue. Antibodies consist of protein and coupled sugar groups. Earlier studies revealed that antibodies with the sugar structure sialic acid are detectable more rarely in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases than in healthy people.
“We observed that patients suffering from an autoimmune disease felt better the more sialic-acid-carrying antibodies they had in their blood,” reports Isaak Quast, a doctoral student in Lünemann’s group and the study’s first author. Different versions of antibody-coupled sugar structures were produced in the lab. “We managed to demonstrate that antibodies containing the sugar sialic acid only destroy the body’s own cells to a very limited extent. Our data indicates that the coupling of sialic acid to antibodies might be a potential strategy in treating patients with autoimmune diseases,” summarizes Lünemann.
Isaak Quast et al.. Sialylation of lgG Fc domain impairs complement-dependent cytotoxicity. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2015, October 5. DOI: 10.1172/JCI82695.
Melanie Nyfeler | Universität Zürich
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
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...
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...
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...
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...
'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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences