Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UBC researchers discover key to immune cell's 'internal guidance' system

Discovery could lead to more efficient vaccines

University of British Columbia researchers have discovered the molecular pathway that enables receptors inside immune cells to find, and flag, fragments of pathogens trying to invade a host.

The discovery of the role played by the molecule CD74 could help immunologists investigate treatments that offer better immune responses against cancers, viruses and bacteria, and lead to more efficient vaccines.

The findings are published in this week's edition of Nature Immunology.

"This could ultimately lead to a blueprint for improving the performance of a variety of vaccines, including those against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," says UBC biologist Wilfred Jefferies, whose lab conducted the study. "This detailed understanding of the role of CD74 may also begin to explain differences in immune responses between individuals that could impact personalized medical options in the future."

CD74 is an important piece of cellular machinery inside dendritic cells – which regulate mammalian primary immune responses. Dendritic cells possess specialized pathways that enable them to sense and then respond to foreign threats. Until now no one has been able to piece together the circuitry which enables a cellular receptor – Major Histocompatability Class I (MHC I) – inside the cells to find and 'collide' with foreign invaders.

The key finding of this work is the discovery of the guiding role played by CD74 to link MHC I receptors to compartments containing invading pathogens within the immune cell. This sophisticated circuit allows the immune cell to recognize and signal the presence of a pathogen in the body and to alert T immune fighter cells. The T-cells respond by dividing and attacking infected cells, destroying the pathogen.

Jefferies' team used 'knock-out' mice that had been genetically modified to lack the CD74 function to uncover the role of the molecule. The team--which includes research associate Genc Basha, postdoctoral fellow Anna Reinicke, graduate students Kyla Omilusik and Ana Chavez-Steenbock1, undergraduate student Nathan Lack, and technician Kyung Bok Choi –then confirmed their findings using biochemical analysis.

Jefferies is a professor with UBC's departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Zoology, and Medical Genetics and with UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories and Biomedical Research Centre. He is also a member of the Centre for Blood Research and the Brain Research Centre at UBC.

The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The Nature Immunology study is available at:

Wilfred Jefferies | EurekAlert!
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 >>>