UCSF scientists have identified a protein on T cells of the immune system that triggers type 1 diabetes in mice when it interacts with another protein in the pancreas. They have shown that blocking the interaction prevents development of diabetes without weakening normal immune defenses or causing measurable side effects. The success provides a promising strategy against human type 1 diabetes, since the T cell protein has a counterpart in the human immune system, the scientists say.
The research is being published online June 15 by the journal Immunity.
The T cell protein, known as NKG2D, is a receptor on the surface of CD8+ T lymphocytes. The second protein, called RAE-1, has been found on cells infected by bacteria or viruses where it binds to NKG2D, alerting CD8+ T cells and other immune system molecules to attack and eliminate the pathogen.
Wallace Ravven | EurekAlert!
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