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
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
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