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Recent developments at Burnham Institute for Medical Research, May 2009
Date:5/12/2009

tory response is the T-cell. The T-cell is activated by a protein called Interleukin-2 inducible T-cell kinase (ITK). Recently, Dr. Gregory Roth and colleagues, in collaboration with a chemistry group at Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., have made new inhibitors of ITK. The inhibitors were designed by looking at small molecule compounds that are known to exert ITK inhibition, albeit not very effectively. By customizing such compounds, Dr. Roth and colleagues were able to make new agents that are more effective at inhibiting ITK. This work was recently published in the Journal of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Keeping B lymphocyte proliferation in check

In response to pathogenic challenge, B lymphocytes rapidly proliferate to generate antibody-secreting cells that can produce neutralizing antibodies in sufficient quantity to limit or eradicate infection. In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Mark Ginsberg in the department of pharmacology at UCSD, Dr. Robert Rickert and colleagues in the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center at Burnham reported an essential role for the beta integrin-associated molecule CD98 in B cell proliferation. B cells in mice lacking CD98 are unable to respond to any mitogenic stimuli, resulting in a failure to generate antibody-secreting cells. These findings, reported in the current issue of Nature Immunology, raise the possibility that disruption of CD98 function could be useful as a therapeutic means to block B cell proliferation in the context of leukemia or lymphoma as well as antibody-dependent autoimmune disease.

Engineering new heart cells

Cardiology researchers under the direction of Drs. Rolf Bodmer and Pilar Ruiz-Lozano in the Development and Aging Program have described automated techniques to quantify heart beat parameters that can be used for genetic screening in fruit flies and zebrafish to discover genes that control heart function.
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Contact: Josh Baxt
jbaxt@burnham.org
858-795-5236
Burnham Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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