A protein called complement factor H (CFH) is responsible for regulating part of our immune system called the complement cascade. Genetic alterations in CFH have been shown to increase a person's risk of developing either AMD or aHUS, but rarely both. Why this is the case has never been explained until now.
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research and the Ophthalmology and Vision Research Group in The University of Manchester's Institute of Human Development have been expanding on their previous work that demonstrated a single common genetic alteration in CFH prevents it from fully protecting the back of the human eye. The research teams of Professor Tony Day and Professor Paul Bishop found that a common genetically altered form of CFH associated with AMD couldn't bind properly to a layer under the retina called Bruch's membrane. Having a reduced amount of CFH in this part of the eye leads to low-level inflammation and tissue damage, eventually resulting in AMD.
However, this mutation that changes CFH function in the eye has no affect on the protein's ability to regulate the immune system in the kidney. A cluster of genetic mutations in a completely different part of CFH are associated with the kidney disease aHUS, but these have no affect on the eyes.
In their most recent study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the Journal of Immunology, the Manchester researchers have identified why these mutations in CFH result in diseases in very specific tissues. Professor Day explains: "For the first time we've been able to identify why these protein mutations are so tissue specific. We're hoping our discovery will open the door to the development of tissue specific treatments to help the millions of people diagnosed with AMD every year."
The research team looked at the two parts of CFH affected by the mutations. Both regions are capable of recognising host tissues, through interacting with sugars called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Successfully recognising these GAGs lets CFH build up a protective layer on the surface of our tissues that prevents our own immune system from attacking them.
It had always been believed that the region with mutations associated with aHUS was the most important for host recognition and for years people have been researching how to readdress immune dysregulation based on this belief. However, the recent discovery of a single common genetic alteration in the other part of CFH that is associated with eye disease raised the possibility that this previous opinion was not fully accurate.
The Manchester researchers compared the way the different regions of the protein interacted with eye tissue and kidney tissue. They discovered that the region of CFH that helps protect the kidney had no effect in the eye. Instead the other part of CFH, which is subject to the AMD-associated genetic alteration, was fundamentally important in protecting the eye, but this region did not contribute to the binding of CFH to kidney tissue.
Their findings show, for the first time, that the level of importance of the two regions of CFH changes depending on which tissue the protein finds itself. This specificity appears to be mediated by the presence of different populations of GAGs.
Dr Simon Clark says: "Our findings suggest that the particular structure within the eye and kidney tissue determines precisely how and where CFH will bind. It's as if the tissues have their own molecular postcodes."
He continues: "We're very pleased to be able to show why mutations in CFH are so tissue specific. This is important because if we're going to improve treatments for devastating diseases, such as AMD, we need to be able to develop tissue-specific therapies."
Professor Paul Bishop, theme lead at the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and Consultant at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital says: "The contribution of donor samples from Manchester Eye Bank was vital for this study. Without the tissue samples that had so generously been given for research by eye donors this research would have been impossible to do."
Morwenna Grills | EurekAlert!
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex
New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences