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GARP makes the difference
Date:6/15/2009

separating T cells that trigger a transplant rejection from those that inhibit such a reaction: they mainly looked at molecular features that both cell types have the one more, the other less. "It's like looking at two cars that appear to be the same. Except that one is capable of driving while the other doesn't drive anymore. But you cannot see that from the outside," says Michael Probst-Kepper. He deciphered the role of GARP: this new-found factor only exists in Tregs and initiates a complex network of various molecules. "If you don't want a car to drive anymore, you pull the key out and cut the petrol pipe. GARP does the same: it prevents Tregs from stepping on the gas."

The scientist artificially inserted GARP into those T cells that start an immune reaction against transplants. The result was a substantial advance for medicine: the transplant-rejecting T cells developed permanently into Tregs those cells that inhibit the activation of aggressive T cells and thus prevent organ rejection. Furthermore, the researchers also furnished the counter evidence: Michael Probst-Kepper muted the GARP gene in Tregs. As a result, the Tregs lost their "peace making" characteristics. "The cells could start driving again," he says. "With this study we were able to show the complexity of the Treg system for the first time, developing a powerful tool for medicine to develop new therapies and drugs."


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Contact: Dr. Bastian Dornbach
bastian.dornbach@helmholtz-hzi.de
49-531-618-11407
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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