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:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Leading CEOs from biotech, pharmaceutical, and ... 31st at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston. , The Boston CEO Conference ... exclusive access to key decision makers who influence deal making and investment. Attendees ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Somnoware, a leading provider of digital ... its Somnoware Sleep Device Interface (SDI). Somnoware SDI is a sleep device integration ... platform, initializing devices and importing studies are just one-click operations. This plugin streamlines ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... via ... antimicrobial, mesh back 24/7 task chair specifically designed for clinical areas. Genie Copper ... thrilled to partner with Cupron® to provide customers with a game changing chair ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh in ... Peace Agreements being discussed by President Donald Trump and the rest of the world. ... speed up peace talks in the continuous battle between Israel and Palestine. The world’s ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... Francisco, is proud to announce a new, informational blog post on insurance options. If ... surgery, checking insurance plans may help save time and money. Visiting an in-network provider ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/9/2017)... 9, 2017  Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral ... Intellectual Property Office has granted Oramed a patent ... Exenatide". The patent covers Oramed,s invention of an ... is an incretin hormone that stimulates the secretion ...
(Date:5/8/2017)... May 8, 2017  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO)., ... ("WRB"), a health care service center company based ... WRB specializes in relationship management programs for leading pharmaceutical ... WRB will join Envoy Health ... services for manufacturers, biotech firms, and other service companies. ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... May 5, 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), ... 100,000 square feet to its Welch Allyn campus. ... commitment to bring more than 100 new jobs to ... Allyn has maintained a significant presence for more than ... new positions, a large portion of which will be ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: