The published research has helped to advance medical understanding of how the body defends against disease and heals itself.
The study also reveals that the same protein, Properdin –discovered only half a century ago- can also harm internal organs under certain circumstances.
Lack of the protein in the human body has previously been linked to susceptibility to meningitis.
But the new findings by Dr Cordula Stover, of the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester assign hitherto unappreciated importance to this protein of the immune defence.
Her work, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is published in the form of two papers in the Journal of Immunology. It is being published in print on May 15.
Dr Stover, a Lecturer in Immunology, said: “I have a broad interest in immune mechanisms of health and disease, though recently, I have focused on a particular component of the first line immune defence, a protein called Properdin.
“Properdin deficiency in families, though rare, predisposes people to develop meningococcal meningitis, usually with poor outcome of the infection.
“I hypothesised that the importance of Properdin extends beyond this particular infectious disease, and that indeed it is an important player in health generally, and that its importance becomes apparent in conditions involving both acute and chronic states of inflammation.
“I was most delighted to obtain funding from the MRC to investigate this.”
Now two of Dr Stover’s papers, published in the Journal of Immunology, demonstrate that Properdin plays a significant role in the survival of conditions relating to surgical perforation of the gut and activation of the immune system by wall components of bacteria.
In conditions relating to multi-organ dysfunction, a complication which can occur in response to severe sepsis, Properdin however aggravates organ damage.
Dr Stover added: “So far, the system Properdin is a part of - the so-called complement system - is classified as a first line, innate, acutely effective immune activation mechanism.
“My work shows that the activity of Properdin extends beyond the acute phase and, importantly, that Properdin is stepping onto the stage as an important player in different inflammatory conditions.
“As the worldwide burden of chronic inflammatory disease increases, it is of practical relevance to understand the contribution of this immune protein.”
· The history of Properdin extends about 50 years with the first significant biochemical characterisations made in the USA, however, subsequently, the UK has contributed tremendously with the characterisation of the Properdin gene and structural modelling of the Properdin protein.
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences