Navigation Links
Genetic regulator opens new avenues to AIDS, immune system research
Date:7/1/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. Researchers at Oregon State University and the California Institute of Technology have discovered that a genetic regulator which is critical to many life functions also plays a key role in the formation of "T cells," a type of white blood cell that's important in immune function.

The discovery, to be announced Friday in the journal Science, suggests that some types of immune function might be influenced by manipulation of this genetic regulator. This could be a target for drug development, and could open the door to new immune system-based therapies for everything from diseases of T cells, such as HIV/AIDS, to autoimmune disorders and allergies.

Other aspects of the research could be of interest to scientists trying to re-program cells to perform different functions, which is the basis of stem cell research.

The genetic regulator, or transcription factor, is called Ctip2, and it's also known as Bcl11b. It's a protein that controls gene "expression," or what aspects of a cell's genetic code will be turned on and which will be left silent. Discovered at OSU in 2000, Ctip2 has in recent years been found to be a master regulator of gene expression, controlling tissue formation in organs as diverse as tooth enamel, brain cells, skin, and T cells.

"Ctip2 is so important to various life functions that laboratory mice lacking this gene die within a few hours after birth," said Mark Leid, a professor and assistant dean in the OSU College of Pharmacy. "Ctip2 is not expressed in every cell, but plays essential roles in several different organs. The new finding about its relationship to early events in T cell formation may be of substantial interest to immunologists and clinicians alike."

T cells are important players in what's called the "adaptive" immune system, or the ability of an organism to mount an attack against a new invader, fight it off and then provide full or partial immunity to it in the future.

Ctip2 helps regulate the complicated process that ends up creating T cells. Depending on the stage of development when it's knocked out, this can result either in T cells not being formed, or different kinds of cells being formed something that would be of significant interest to researchers who are trying to re-program cells to perform different functions.

Part of what's remarkable about Ctip2, researchers say, is the range of seemingly separate yet critical functions it performs. Ctip2 is essential in the creation of teeth, the formation of skin, and T cells. In all of these cells and tissues, Ctip2 is involved in differentiation of one cell type into another, more mature cell. OSU researchers have also found that the amount of Ctip2 expressed by certain cancer cells is correlated with the aggressiveness of tumors, which may be helpful for diagnostic purposes.

Every cell in the human body, and that of plants and other animals, contains the entire "genome," or genetic blueprint of life of the particular organism. Research on genetic regulators has been of increasing interest in recent years because these proteins hold the key to which genes are expressed, instructing one cell to become a brain cell while another is directed to become a blood cell.

"I've always been in awe of how transcription factors direct complicated events, such as development, in which mammals progress from a single, fertilized cell into a complex, three-dimensional organism in a relatively short period of time," Leid said. "It's just a beautifully choreographed dance, and timing is everything."

Ctip2 seems to be a very top-level regulator of development and differentiation in many different cell types, Leid said. It should be possible to develop drugs that decrease, increase or otherwise modify Ctip2 activity, and such drugs may be useful in the treatment of certain malignancies, such as leukemia, and skin cancers, he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Leid
mark.leid@oregonstate.edu
541-737-5809
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Medco Acquires Leading Genetics Healthcare Company, DNA Direct
2. Genetic Variants in Depressed People Raise Suicide Risk
3. St. Jude and Washington University team to unravel genetic basis of childhood cancers
4. Discovery of epigenetic memory during breast cancer
5. Genetic Test May Someday Help Spot Breast Cancer
6. Advances in Genetic Understanding and Treatment Protocols Lead to Significant Progress in Leukemia and Myeloproliferative Disorders
7. Wistar-led research team discovers genetic pattern that indicates early-stage lung cancer
8. New License Agreement with University of Colorado Gives Viral Genetics, Inc., Right to Develop Cancer Therapies
9. U-M Study Reveals Surprising Lack of Genetic Diversity in the Most Widely Used Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
10. Chicago Cancer Genome Project studies genetics of 1,000 tumors
11. Adding a genetic supertool
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, ... the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. ... toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association ... it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance ... 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... National recruitment firm ... life sciences executive with extensive sequencing and genomics experience, as Vice President of North ... Ms. Hill will be responsible for leading the sales team in the commercialization of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., ... developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was ... Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief ... shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: