The findings that in the future may aid the body’s defense system are published in the March 7 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research is partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“What we found is a family of proteins that control macrophage activation,” researcher Mingui Fu said from a laboratory in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at UCF.
Macrophages are the body’s self-cleaners. They live in the bloodstream and are called to action when bacteria or other foreign objects attack. Scientists have been studying what triggers them, but no one has come up with a step-by-step process yet. Once triggered, macrophages travel to the infection site and gobble up the invader, helping the body heal. The attack is manifested by inflammation at the infection site.
When everything works right, the inflammation goes away and the person’s health improves. But when macrophages go awry, they can cause more harm than good. Sometimes the macrophages mistake the body’s own organs for invaders and attack, and that can cause arthritis or some forms of cancer. Sometimes the cleaners fail to detect threats, such as malignant cancer cells, which then go unregulated and can turn into fatal tumors.
When Fu arrived at UCF in 2007, he teamed up with Pappachan Kolattukudy, the director of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Kolattukudy’s laboratory has been studying for two decades how a small protein called MCP, produced at the site of injury, infection or inflammation, attracts macrophages to the site to clean up. Last year his team published the discovery of a novel gene called MCPIP that is turned on by MCP. They showed that MCPIP is involved in the development of ischemic heart failure, the leading cause of death. This team has been exploring how this new gene works.
MCPIP turns out to be the first member of a small, newly discovered gene family called CCCH-Zinc fingure proteins. This family appears to switch the macrophages on and off. The researchers continue to study different aspects of the proteins because of the possibility that they will be critical in treating and curing inflammatory diseases.
Kolattukudy said the new protein holds a lot of promise, but more studies are needed.
“Because this novel protein has key roles to play in the major inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity-induced type2 diabetes, it is a promising drug target,” Kolattukudy said. “We have a patent application filed on this protein for that purpose.”
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences