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!
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
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...
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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences