Navigation Links
Jefferson scientists discover a key protein regulator of inflammation and cell death
Date:1/22/2009

(PHILADELPHIA) Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers led by Emad Alnemri, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, discovered a key protein component involved in inflammation.

The protein, AIM2 (absent in melanoma 2), is involved in the detection and reaction to dangerous cytoplasmic DNA that is produced by infection with viral or microbial pathogens, or by tissue damage. AIM2 also appears to be a tumor suppressor, and its inactivation may play a role in the development of cancer, according to Dr. Alnemri.

AIM2 belongs to a class of proteins called inflammasomes, which are multi-protein complexes that play major roles as guardians against both viral and bacterial infections. Inflammasomes also detect dangerous self-molecules associated with tissue damage.

According to Dr. Alnemri, when cells are infected with pathogens, AIM2 senses the presence of the pathogen's DNA in the cytoplasm. It then binds to the foreign DNA and causes a rapid inflammatory reaction that sends a danger signal alerting the body to the invading pathogen.

When AIM2 binds to the foreign DNA, it recruits a cytoplasmic protein called ASC. ASC and AIM2 then work together to activate caspase-1, a cysteine protease involved in the production of interleukin1beta and other inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation.

"Researchers have long sought this elusive protein that senses the presence of DNA in the cytoplasm, which is associated with pathogenic infection or the escape of undigested self-DNA into the cytoplasm," Dr. Alnemri said. "We not only identified the key protein in this process, but also discovered how this protein reacts to DNA and causes inflammation. The inflammatory response triggered when AIM2 binds to foreign DNA in the cytoplasm is the body's way of alerting other systems that there is a danger present in the cell."

According to Dr. Alnemri, the activation of AIM2 also leads to death of the infected cells, which removes the damaged cells from the body. This prevents the pathogen from replicating in the cells and spreading to other parts of the body. The fact that AIM2 can induce cell death raises the possibility that AIM2 might function as a tumor suppressor, by killing cells with damaged DNA before they transform into cancers. Inactivation of AIM2 thus might confer a growth advantage to abnormal cells and lead to the development of cancer.

"The discovery and understanding of the AIM2 inflammasome should enable scientists to design novel therapeutics that modulate its activity," Dr. Alnemri said. "Such therapeutics may be useful for the treatment of nucleic aciddependent pathogenic and autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus," Dr. Alnemri said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Shafer
emily.shafer@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson urologists studying regenerated neo-bladder to help spinal cord injury patients
2. Jefferson scientists studying the effects of high-dose vitamin C on non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients
3. Jefferson receives $11.6M NIH grant to study novel mechanisms of heart failure
4. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
5. Jefferson Department of Surgery announces new pancreas tumor registry
6. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
7. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
8. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
9. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
10. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
11. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2016)... Ontario , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, ... management technology respectively, today announced the launch of a ... next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. NSO ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... -- Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew ... Hebrew University, announced today the formation of Neteera ... human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its first ... ... emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... March 10, 2016 --> ... research report "Identity and Access Management Market by Component ... and Governance), by Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, ... by MarketsandMarkets, The market is estimated to grow from ... by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 ... company reports the Company,s CEO  was featured in ... Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To Tread: ... Leader magazine is an essential business ... everything from emerging biotechs to Big Pharmas. Their ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... has made significant investments in recruiting top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM ... which provides industry-leading tools for clients to manage their clinical trial projects. , ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... of cannabis testing technology at the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. ... pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and more. Expo attendees can stop by booth ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia , April 27, 2016 ... "Gesellschaft" oder "NanoStruck") (CSE: NSK) (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( ... sie im Anschluss an ihre Pressemitteilung vom 13. ... Inc. erhalten hat, ihre Finanzen um zusätzliche 200.000.000 ... auf 4.000.000 Kanadische Dollar zu bringen. Davon wurden ...
Breaking Biology Technology: