Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UBC researchers discover key to immune cell's 'internal guidance' system

06.02.2012
Discovery could lead to more efficient vaccines

University of British Columbia researchers have discovered the molecular pathway that enables receptors inside immune cells to find, and flag, fragments of pathogens trying to invade a host.

The discovery of the role played by the molecule CD74 could help immunologists investigate treatments that offer better immune responses against cancers, viruses and bacteria, and lead to more efficient vaccines.

The findings are published in this week's edition of Nature Immunology.

"This could ultimately lead to a blueprint for improving the performance of a variety of vaccines, including those against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," says UBC biologist Wilfred Jefferies, whose lab conducted the study. "This detailed understanding of the role of CD74 may also begin to explain differences in immune responses between individuals that could impact personalized medical options in the future."

CD74 is an important piece of cellular machinery inside dendritic cells – which regulate mammalian primary immune responses. Dendritic cells possess specialized pathways that enable them to sense and then respond to foreign threats. Until now no one has been able to piece together the circuitry which enables a cellular receptor – Major Histocompatability Class I (MHC I) – inside the cells to find and 'collide' with foreign invaders.

The key finding of this work is the discovery of the guiding role played by CD74 to link MHC I receptors to compartments containing invading pathogens within the immune cell. This sophisticated circuit allows the immune cell to recognize and signal the presence of a pathogen in the body and to alert T immune fighter cells. The T-cells respond by dividing and attacking infected cells, destroying the pathogen.

Jefferies' team used 'knock-out' mice that had been genetically modified to lack the CD74 function to uncover the role of the molecule. The team--which includes research associate Genc Basha, postdoctoral fellow Anna Reinicke, graduate students Kyla Omilusik and Ana Chavez-Steenbock1, undergraduate student Nathan Lack, and technician Kyung Bok Choi –then confirmed their findings using biochemical analysis.

Jefferies is a professor with UBC's departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Zoology, and Medical Genetics and with UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories and Biomedical Research Centre. He is also a member of the Centre for Blood Research and the Brain Research Centre at UBC.

The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The Nature Immunology study is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ni.2225

Wilfred Jefferies | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ubc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>