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New genetic mechanism of immune deficiency discovered
Date:4/20/2012

gene in several patients who suffered low CD4 T cell counts as a result of other conditions.

One of the three patients, a 32-year-old woman with a history of recurrent infections, had a missense mutation in her Unc119 gene. The same mutation was not present in other lymphopenia patients nor in any genetic database.

The researchers then performed several studies with the woman's blood cells, to understand the mutation's effect. They introduced the mutated gene into normal T cells and examined the outcome. The mutation prevents Lck activation and its downstream signaling. It also reduces the amount of Lck found near the plasma membrane, where it plays a major role in propagating signals from the T-cell receptor. Proliferation of T cells, which normally occurs on stimulation of T-cell receptors, was profoundly reduced in cells from the patient.

"Since we originally published our findings earlier this year, we have received inquiries from many physicians with lymphopenia subjects," said Dr. Alam. "Working with them, we expect to find several more patients with this novel mutation, which should help us better understand its effect, improve diagnosis and possibly find therapies."

At this point there is no treatment for CD4 lymphopenia caused by this mutation other than close monitoring of the patient and treatment of resulting infections and malignancies.


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Contact: William Allstetter
303-398-1002
National Jewish Health
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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