Navigation Links
Control switches found for immune cells that fight cancer, viral infection
Date:7/10/2008

July 9, 2008 -- Medical science may be a significant step closer to climbing into the driver's seat of an important class of immune cells, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report in Nature Immunology.

The researchers showed that a single protein, HS1, enables key functions of natural killer (NK) cells, which kill early cancers and fight off viral infections. The protein allows the NK cells to pursue their targets, latch on to them and configure the cellular machinery it uses to kill them.

"Further study of how HS1 controls these processes may open up new possibilities for revving up the NK cells to fight infection and cancer," says senior author John Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell biology and physiology. "We also may be able to use this same protein to inhibit the activities of other immune cells and prevent them from contributing to autoimmune conditions such as diabetes."

Cooper, who is a member of the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, studies how different types of cells use a primary component of their skeletal system known as an actin network. Earlier, his laboratory had probed the role of a protein called cortactin in specialized cells that break down bones. They showed that cortactin's effects on the actin network made it possible for the cells to form a tightly sealed bond with bones.

"This bond is analogous to a plunger," says first author Boyd Butler, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Cooper's laboratory. "The cell sits down on the bone, seals tightly, and then starts secreting the acid and other compounds that break down the bone."

NK cells have to form a similar plunger-like bond, known as a lytic synapse, with the targets they attack. They do not make cortactin but produce HS1, which is a very similar protein. Butler decided to see what would happen to NK cells in human blood samples if he turned down their ability to make HS1. The resulting cells were severely disabled: They couldn't effectively pursue target cells, bind to them or prepare to kill them.

Prior research by other scientists had revealed that when NK cells are in motion or attacking a target, HS1 has chemical modifications attached to it at specific points. Giving the NK cells normal HS1 restored their lost functions, but when researchers gave the NK cells HS1 where these attachment points had been altered, the cells were selectively disabled. Changing one attachment point prevented them from pursuing target cells, while changing the other impaired their ability to bind to targets and kill them.

"Tight regulation is very important to prevent NK cells from harming the body's own tissues," Boyd says. "This ability to switch where the control signal goes makes HS1 a powerful regulator of NK cell activityit allows the cells to provide just the right services at the right time."

Cooper and Boyd plan follow-up studies that will start at the attachment points on HS1 and trace connections with and influences on other proteins.

"NK cells are very good at nipping early cancers in the bud," says Cooper. "If we can better understand how they're activated, this could lead us to ways to make them better killers of cancers and cells infected by viruses and other invaders."


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Smart materials get smarter with ability to better control shape and size
2. Research required urgently to control planthopper pests
3. From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature, Penn study reveals
4. Study findings show infection control intervention helps keep kids in school
5. Insect release proposed to control exotic strawberry guava
6. Spin control: New technique sorts nanotubes by length
7. ASU researchers synthesize molecule with self-control
8. Fruit fly avoidance mechanism could lead to new ways to control pain in humans
9. A gentle touch for better control, a quantum mechanical con, and milestone PRL papers
10. Controlling embryonic fate by association
11. Stem cells and cancer: cancer pathways that also control the adult stem cell population
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: