The NIH team’s report will be available the evening of September 19 online in The New England Journal of Medicine. The Tokyo group published its findings in Nature last month.
“Understanding the genetic cause of this rare immunological disorder is a signal accomplishment, revealing information that has been sought for decades,” says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of NIH. "The immunological insights from this study not only promise to open new therapeutic doors for Job’s syndrome, but also provide new leads for treating other immunodeficiency diseases.”
Only about 250 cases of Job’s syndrome (pronounced like “robe,” and technically known as hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome, or HIES) have been reported since it was first discovered in 1966. While individuals with Job’s syndrome often live long lives, life-threatening complications from basic infections are a constant concern. Identifying the specific gene implicated in the disease could benefit scientific study of several diseases that afflict people with Job’s syndrome, including infections caused by Aspergillus, Candida and Staphylococcus.
Job’s syndrome makes the immune system extremely sensitive to invading microbes. People with the syndrome often have multiple, recurring ailments, such as skin infections that cause lesions and boils, and lung infections that cause pneumonia. They also are at high risk of breaking bones, having a curved spine, and experiencing facial and dental developmental difficulties. There is no cure for Job’s syndrome, although antibiotics and antifungals are used to prevent and treat the infections associated with the disorder.
Steven M. Holland, M.D., chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases, led the research team that over several years assembled the patient group that helped unravel the 41-year-old mystery. A key finding involved work with proteins that alert the body to increase production of white blood cells, increase immune-enhancing chemicals, and increase their killing of invaders. These signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins help alert and direct immune system responses to stop invading pathogens. In 48 Job’s syndrome patients, Dr. Holland’s team sequenced the gene that makes STAT3 protein and discovered that mutations in the gene causes Job’s syndrome.
The team became interested in the role of the STAT3 gene after observing increased levels of some immune system responses in Job’s patients, but inadequate levels of response to others, indicating a defect in immune system signaling. Researchers found mutations in the STAT3 gene in 48 patients with Job’s, but not in 48 unaffected relatives or 158 unaffected people in a control group.
“We found that Job’s is associated with excessive immune reaction, not deficient immune reaction as many people suspected,” says Dr. Holland. “STAT3 is the key, and it can become a really powerful tool to dissect other aspects of immunity at a molecular and functional level.” For example, in studies done in mice, other investigators have demonstrated specific roles for STAT3 in bone and organ development, preservation and inflammation.
Ken Pekoc | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University
A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.
In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...
Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
18.12.2017 | Information Technology
18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science