Navigation Links
A*STAR scientists discover 'switch' to boost anti-viral response to fight infectious diseases
Date:5/11/2012

Singapore scientists from Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) under the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have for the first time, identified the molecular 'switch' that directly triggers the body's first line of defence against pathogens, more accurately known as the body's "innate immunity". The scientists found that this 'switch' called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) when turned on, activates the production of interferons - a potent class of virus killers that enables the body to fight harmful pathogens such as dengue and influenza viruses.

While there are anti-viral drugs to treat influenza, the high rates of mutation that are characteristic of the influenza [1] virus have made it difficult to treat with one universal drug or vaccine. As for dengue [2], there are currently no clinically approved vaccines or cures either. This discovery of BTK's role as a critical 'switch' that boosts the body's anti-viral response, paves the way for developing anti-viral drugs that target the BTK 'switch' to fight infectious diseases.

To investigate the role of BTK in innate immunity, the research team from BTI extracted a class of innate immune cells known as macrophages [3] from both normal mice and from mice deficient in BTK and challenged them with the dengue virus. They found that the BTK-deficient immune cells were unable to produce interferons, and hence had much higher viral counts compared to the healthy immune cells that had high-levels of interferons to fight the virus effectively.

To further demonstrate the critical role of BTK in anti-viral response, the team focussed on BTK's role in Toll-like Receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling. TLR3 is needed for cells to activate the interferon response when cells are infected by viruses. The team examined the effect of having a perpetually-"on" or -"off" BTK 'switch' in TLR3 signaling. They uncovered that a constitutively active or "on" BTK 'switch' enhanced the production of interferon, resulting in a stronger and more lasting anti-viral response with significant reduction in Dengue viral counts. In contrast, a perpetually "off" BTK 'switch' led to a poor anti-viral response with very low levels of inteferons produced, and little protection against Dengue virus infection.

Previously, scientists have always thought that BTK is important primarily in antibody production due to observations made of an inherited genetic disorder in humans called X-linked Agammaglobulinemia (XLA). These patients do not have a functional BTK 'switch', and are unable to produce antibodies because defects in BTK cripple maturation of B cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies.

"We are very excited because this is the first time that the link between BTK and its critical role in the immediate anti-viral responses of the immune system, triggered in response to invading viruses like Dengue, is definitively demonstrated", said Dr. Koon-Guan Lee, the first author of this paper.

Said Professor Kong-Peng Lam, Acting Executive Director of BTI and the Head of the Immunology Group that conducted the research, "This study adds new insights to the understanding of how the body's innate immunity is triggered to create an effective immune response. It is a prime example of how better understanding in basic biological systems brings us a step closer to understanding the mechanism of human diseases, and enables us to find more effective treatment strategies to combat deadly viral diseases, which we have yet to find cures for."


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr. Sarah Chang KC
chang_kai_chen@a-star.edu.sg
65-682-66442
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. A*STAR scientists discover special class of natural fats stimulates immune cells to fight diseases
2. A*STAR scientists make headway for cancer treatment and cancer prevention with landmark discovery
3. NTU and A*STAR launch joint Ph.D. research program in immunology
4. A*STAR and Institut Merieux/bioMerieux invest S$3m ($2.2m) in tuberculosis research
5. A*STAR scientist receives international award for innovation in healthcare technology
6. Scientists Map Melanomas Genome
7. Scripps Research scientists show how memory B cells stay in class to fight different infections
8. Joslin scientists identify important mechanism that affects the aging process
9. NIH scientists link quickly spreading gene to Asian MRSA epidemic
10. Warwick scientists uncover how checkpoint proteins bind chromosomes
11. Scientists rewrite rulebook on breast cancer in landmark global study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... September 22, 2017 , ... The freshly released app Smart ... to Smart Mart, customers can now order vegetable, fruit, snacks, dairy, or any ... find clothing at discounted prices. Apart from this, Smart Mart has emphasized upon ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... Greenwich, Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... September 22, 2017 ... ... to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education and awareness, today ... , A noted immunologist and microbiologist, Dr. Sellati has more than 20 ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... 2017 , ... 38-Year-Old Plastic Surgeon Gill at Aesthetic Surgery Center is Saluted ... announce that Plastic Surgeon Kiranjeet Gill has been awarded as one of the 15th ... award that was started in 2003 to salute young achievers in Southwest Florida who ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... SABRE is raising awareness ... September 11 to the end of November. , The Chicago, Illinois, based self-defense brand ... and teach them about the ease of taking their personal safety into their own ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... Management Report**, http://www.fdanews.com/products/54818-promotional-communication      , In the competitive world of drug and ... while staying in compliance with FDA rules. , The FDA has issued two ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/9/2017)... 8, 2017 ... Unit coming to Washington DC ... When: Tuesday, September 12 th – Monday, September 18 th .The ... free MRI brain scans to the public.Where:  BTF,s ... at 501 K Street NW, Washington, D.C.What:BTF brings its nationwide initiative, the ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... Sept. 9, 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... secondary endpoint data for lasmiditan, an investigational, oral, first-in-class ... statistically significant improvements compared to placebo in the Phase ... at the 18th Congress of the International Headache Society ... "The data presented today demonstrate lasmiditan,s potential to reduce ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. , Sept. 7, 2017  For nearly two ... and service in the Assisted Reproduction Insurance industry. Today, New Life Agency ... expensive fertility medications. ... http://pharmacarecard.com/ (PRNewsfoto/PharmaCareCard) ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: