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Key protein molecule linked to diverse human chronic inflammatory diseases
Date:9/15/2008

ar level, Li's laboratory discovered that IRAK-1 prefers to phosphorylate transcription factors harboring the Serine-Proline motif including STAT-3 and NFAT. Subsequently, STAT-3 and NFAT are involved in modulating the expression of distinct inflammatory mediators responsible for the excessive activation of specialized macrophages and T cells. These cells eventually contribute to diverse inflammatory symptoms including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer's diseases, and lupus. "Chemical compounds targeting this molecule will have enormous therapeutic potential," Li said.

"There is still a long way to go for finding the actual cure for these diseases," he said. "That is why we are combining expertise from various disciplines, including experimental biology and computational simulation. The Inflammation Center integrates faculties with expertise in experimental molecular biology, cutting edge imaging of inflamed cells and tissues, computational simulation of cellular signaling networks, human and animal studies, and nano-technologies designing novel intervention."

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) filed a patent application for Li's discovery and its use as a diagnostic tool and treatment strategy. "This technology will still take some time before there is a product," said Li.


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Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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