Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U of M researchers identify new functions for autoimmune disease 'risk' gene

22.07.2013
Work could have big impact on autoimmune disease treatment strategies

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified infection-fighting and inflammation-suppressing functions for a gene associated with human autoimmune disease.

The discovery, centered on a gene known as PTPN22, could set into motion new treatment approaches for autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. The key to these advances may lie with a better understanding of how a variant of PTPN22, known as a "risk variant," impacts autoimmune disease development and the behavior of myeloid cells that act as the body's "first responders."

The study appears in the journal Immunity.

In launching their latest research project, University of Minnesota Center for Immunology researchers set out to determine how PTPN22 could regulate immune system function in health and disease.

"Almost a decade ago, researchers at the University of Minnesota and other institutions discovered that people carrying a variant form of the PTPN22 gene bear an increased risk of becoming sick with certain autoimmune diseases. However, we have lacked a deep understanding how the variant creates that increased risk," said Erik J. Peterson, M.D., one of the study's lead authors and a University of Minnesota Medical School associate professor in the Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases. "We wanted to understand the molecular basis for PTPN22 association with disease."

Much of the work carried out in the latest study took place in Peterson's laboratory, which utilizes genetic, biochemical, and primary human sample-based approaches to investigate how "risk" genes predispose to development of autoimmune disease.

According to the study's authors, previous research showed that PTPN22 works in immune cells, but few studies had specifically examined PTPN22's function in infection-fighting cells called myeloid cells.

"Myeloid cells are among the body's 'first responders' to a challenge with a virus or bacterium," said Yaya Wang, Ph.D., one of the study's co-first authors and a research associate in the Center for Immunology. "Upon recognizing the presence of an infection, myeloid cells produce chemicals that increase inflammation and help fight the invading microbe. We were intrigued by the idea that PTPN22 and its disease-associated variant might have a role in myeloid cell functions."

Researchers found that both mouse and human myeloid cells carrying the PTPN22 "risk" variant show decreased production of molecules called type 1 Interferons. Type 1 Interferons are needed to boost immune responses to viruses and other infections. In mice lacking the PTPN22 gene, reduced type 1 Interferon production correlates with an impaired ability to fight infections.

But the PTPN22 gene does more than simply fight infection, the study showed.

"Unexpectedly, we also found that PTPN22 suppresses inflammation," said Wang. "Furthermore, we showed that the PTPN22 risk variant is defective in suppressing inflammatory arthritis."

"We anticipate that our findings will open new lines of investigation into how PTPN22 and other autoimmune disease 'risk' genes could work in infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory processes. Ultimately, we hope that the research will accelerate the drive toward better treatments and cures for autoimmune disorders," said Peterson.

More research is underway to determine the impact of the PTPN22 variant in the function of myeloid blood cells, particularly in patients suffering from lupus. Researchers are also comparing immune responses to influenza A vaccines between carriers and non-carriers of the PTPN22 variant. The goal is to understand the role of the disease-associated variant in mounting a normal response to immunizations against viruses.

This project was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), R01AR057781 (awarded to Peterson) and R01AI070544 (awarded to co-senior author Nunzio Bottini, M.D., Ph.D.), as well as from several other sources, including: the American College of Rheumatology Within Our Reach Campaign, the American Diabetes Association, the Alliance for Lupus Research, and the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota Medical School, with its two campuses in the Twin Cities and Duluth, is a leading educator of the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and the school's 3,800 faculty physicians and scientists advance patient care, discover biomedical research breakthroughs with more than $180 million in sponsored research annually, and enhance health through world-class patient care for the state of Minnesota and beyond. Visit http://www.med.umn.edu to learn more.

Caroline Marin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umn.edu
http://www.med.umn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

12th COMPAMED Spring Convention: Innovative manufacturing processes of modern implants

28.05.2018 | Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

International Workshop Sees Central Role for Solar in Transforming the World Energy Economy

28.05.2018 | Seminars Workshops

Cognitive Power Electronics 4.0 is gaining momentum

28.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

Organic light-emitting diodes become brighter and more durable

28.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>