Copolymer 1, also called glatiramer acetate, is an unusual therapeutic compound, a heterogeneous mix of polypeptides containing the four amino acids Y, E, A, and K in definite ratios but with no uniform sequence. Although its mode of action remains controversial, this preparation clearly helps retard the progression of human multiple sclerosis (MS) and of the related autoimmune condition, studied in mice, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Copolymer 1 is presented on class II MHC molecules, including the HLA-DR2 type that is associated with increased risk of MS. This MHC molecule binds a defined auto-epitope from myelin basic protein (MBP) and presents it to CD4 T cells, initiating an immune response against myelin in the CNS. Fridkis-Hareli et al. reexamined the structure of the DR2 peptide-binding groove and concluded that the selection of amino acids used in Copolymer 1 was far from optimal if the goal was to compete against presentation of MBP peptides. Here they show that YFAK and FAK copolymers, among others, bind DR2 with higher affinity than does YEAK (copolymer 1), allowing them to compete successfully against an endogenous autoantigenic peptide. These formulations were more effective than Copolymer 1 at suppressing the activation of T cells bearing DR2-restricted, MS patient?derived T cell receptors. Crucially, the novel copolymers were also dramatically more effective at suppressing EAE. Thus, mice injected with either a defined antigenic peptide or whole spinal cord homogenate normally initiate inflammatory and cytolytic responses in the CNS. While Copolymer 1 reduced the incidence of this disease and delayed its onset in most cases, several of the novel copolymers prevented it entirely. Given the precedent of Copolymer 1?s safety and efficacy in people with MS, the use of other copolymers, perhaps optimized to target an individual?s MHC haplotype, seems an attractive scenario for MS and perhaps other autoimmune diseases.
John Ashkenas | EurekAlert
Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences