Navigation Links
There's a new 'officer' in the infection control army

Johns Hopkins scientists have identified a previously unrecognized step in the activation of infection-fighting white blood cells, the main immunity troops in the body's war on bacteria, viruses and foreign proteins.

"It's as if we knew many of the generals, colonels and majors and now we have discovered a new officer that helps the troops carry out the right battle plan," says Joel Pomerantz, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biological Chemistry in the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences and member of the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins.

The discovery, published in Molecular Cell on December 10th also presents new opportunities to develop drugs to enhance the immune system, or to slow down hyperactive immune cells in cases of autoimmunity and cancer, Pomerantz says.

Faced with infection, the body's white blood cells are commanded by a protein CARD11 to either make more antibodies and white blood cells that attack the invader or to stand down and abort the mission.

The new research shows that CARD11 is under the control of GAKIN, another protein that supervises the directives given to each white blood cell. Because of CARD11's importance in the decision-making process, it needs a regulator to make sure it turns off when it's no longer needed to avoid the risk of hyperactivity. If too many T or B cells, particular types of white blood cells, are made or sent to battle infection, the consequences can be cancer or autoimmune disease, Pomerantz says.

The discovery of GAKIN's role in immune cell activation began when researchers attached the gene that codes for luciferase a natural protein that makes fireflies glow to a gene that CARD11 turns on in response to an infection. This allowed them to see when a CARD11-responsive gene was turned on by measuring the amount of light released from the cells. Pomerantz's group discovered that the more GAKIN protein they added to the cells, the less the cells glowed, meaning that GAKIN represses these genes' activation.

In other experiments, the researchers learned that GAKIN has multiple ways of controlling CARD11 output. CARD11 can only turn on if all of the other specific key regulatory proteins like a tactical team are present. When researchers labeled the CARD11 protein with a red-colored tag and watched it under a microscope inside a white blood cell, they could see that CARD11 moved away from its tactical team activators to a different location in the cell shortly after the cell was alerted of an infection. But, CARD11 hung out longer with the tactical team activators in cells that had less GAKIN. According to Pomerantz, GAKIN can control CARD11 by moving it to another location in the cell away from the proteins that are needed to turn CARD11 on.


Contact: Vanessa McMains
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related biology news :

1. Autism Speaks chief science officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., named Rock Star of Science
2. Global Rainmakers Appoints James M. Demitrieus as Chief Operating Officer
3. Global Rainmakers Appoints James M. Demitrieus as Chief Operating Officer
4. Pacific Biometrics, Inc. Announces the Appointment of Michael Murphy, PhD as Chief Operating Officer
5. BIO-key(R) Appoints Cecilia Welch as Chief Financial Officer
6. Supply-Chain Council Announces New Board of Directors and Officers
7. ID Analytics Appoints Chief Information Officer
8. ID Analytics Appoints Chief Information Officer
9. First-ever covalent irreversible inhibition of a protease central to hepatitis C infection
10. E. coli infection linked to long-term health problems
11. E coli infection linked to long-term health problems
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/18/2017)... April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based ... edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. ... by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec ... show at the Las Vegas Convention Center ... Click here ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... to their offering. ... eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during ... Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... DALLAS , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm ... IoT Strategy, will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , ... key trends in the residential home security market and how smart safety ... ... "The ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings ... mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell therapy ... limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ... of limbs saved as compared to standard bone ... molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses the ... in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The prospective ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) is proud ... annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited to a ... early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long event will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: