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Protein helps immune cells to divide and conquer
Date:3/8/2009

couldn't divide rapidly," Cantor said, adding that this proved the protein was essential to expanding the number of immune cells, a necessary step in the immune response. While deletion of the protein didn't impair early B cell activation, it did inhibit later activation of elements along the signaling pathway that push the cell forward to divide.

"Since B cells can't rapidly divide and replicate without CD98hc, perhaps by blocking this protein we could stop the unchecked growth of B lymphocyte cells that can result in cancer or block misdirected B cell attacks that can cause certain autoimmune diseases," said Ginsberg.

The CD98hc protein functions in cells by helping to transmit integrin signals, as well as transporting amino acids the building blocks of proteins into the cell. But the scientists didn't know which, if either, of these functions was related to the protein's role in the rapid division of immune cells. By replacing normal CD98hc in B cells with a version that lacked one or the other of these two functions, they discovered that the integrin-binding domain of this protein is required, but the amino acid transport function is dispensable for B cell proliferation.

"CD98hc interacts with certain integrin subunits to prompt signaling events that control cell migration, survival and proliferation. Our study shows that the rapid proliferation of B cells, necessary for the body to fight infection, is aided by the CD98hc protein's support of integrin signaling," Cantor said.


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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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