They found that hydrogen peroxide modified a protein called Lyn, and that the modification let neutrophils go to wound sites along a specific cellular pathway.
"If we blocked Lyn, it's possible cells could still get to infection sites, where they could be helpful, but not to wounds or tumors, where they could be harmful," Huttenlocher says.
The experiments showed clearly that Lyn activation was dependent on hydrogen peroxide after tissue injury, and that blocking Lyn reduced the recruitment of neutrophils to wounds. Lyn is expressed specifically in leukocytes as a sensor for hydrogen peroxide.
Lyn is also a member of a powerful class of proteins known as Src family kinases (SFKs). Many of these kinases have been identified as cellular oncogenes, or precursors to cancer.
"Lyn bridges SFKs and the new pathway we have identified, broadly linking wound healing and immunity to changes in cell behavior in cancer," says Huttenlocher. "That connection may help move us forward with a better understanding of wound healing and cancer."
Lyn's connection to hydrogen peroxide should also elevate the chemical's status from the back of the medicine cabinet to a position of much greater interest.
|Contact: Dian Land|
University of Wisconsin-Madison