Navigation Links
'Good' prion-like proteins boost immune response, UT Southwestern scientists report
Date:8/8/2011

DALLAS Aug. 8, 2011 A person's ability to battle viruses at the cellular level remarkably resembles the way deadly infectious agents called prions misfold and cluster native proteins to cause disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

This study marks the first discovery of so-called "good" prion-like proteins in human cells and the first to find such proteins involved in innate immunity: the way the body recognizes and responds to threats from viruses or other external agents, said Dr. Zhijian "James" Chen, professor of molecular biology and senior author of the study in the Aug. 5 print edition of the journal Cell.

"An understanding of how cells maintain good prion-like proteins called MAVS [mitochondrial antiviral signaling] protein may help us understand how some prions turn bad," said Dr. Chen, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UT Southwestern. Moreover, the research may also deepen our knowledge of innate immunity and host defense, he said.

Prions are misfolded, self-perpetuating proteins responsible for fatal brain infections such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy so-called mad cow disease in cattle and the extremely rare variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in some people who eat beef from infected cattle. Currently all prion-related diseases are untreatable and are fatal.

The MAVS prion-like proteins usually are scattered on the membranes of the energy-producing organelles called the mitochondria that reside inside cells throughout the body, he explained.

UT Southwestern researchers, investigating the cellular response to invasion by a member of the family of viruses that includes influenza and hepatitis, discovered that the MAVS proteins change shape and recruit other MAVS proteins to misfold and aggregate [cluster] in tough clumps on the surface of the mitochondrial membranes to defend against viral assault, Dr. Chen said.

The researchers created a setup that mimicked the human immune response, but in a controlled laboratory environment where they were able to break open cells and study the cellular components. When those components were mixed with viral RNA (the genetic material also known as ribonucleic acid), the MAVS proteins still formed large clusters.

"Remarkably, the MAVS proteins behave like prions and effectively convert nearby proteins into aggregates on the mitochondrial membrane," Dr. Chen said. He noted that the aggregates are necessary for the cells to churn out immunity-boosting interferon molecules. When the MAVS activity is blocked, the antiviral defense stops.

The MAVS' prion-like mechanism gives no indication of the out-of-control replication seen in disease-causing prions, Dr. Chen said, providing an intriguing area for future research.


'/>"/>

Contact: Deborah Wormser
deborah.wormser@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Your mother was right: Study shows good posture makes you tougher
2. The truth about cats and dogs: Pets are good for mental health of everyday people
3. Can gulls smell out a good partner?
4. Evolutionary kings of the hill use good, bad and ugly mutations to speed ahead of competition
5. Betting on good luck and 4-leaf clovers
6. Eating dirt can be good for the belly, researchers find
7. Good guy or bad guy? Diagnosing stomach disease in pet reptiles
8. Clubbers can smell a good nightspot
9. As good as gold
10. Scorpion venom -- bad for bugs, good for pesticides
11. Study finds routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Good' prion-like proteins boost immune response, UT Southwestern scientists report
(Date:4/17/2017)... 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ... of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April ... ... in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at ... at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... their offering. ... tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the ... 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with ... its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) ... all uses of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 ... ... management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and ... BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... 09, 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center announces ... needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and health ... As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, Lilach ...
Breaking Biology Technology: