Scientists discover 'switch' to boost anti-viral response to fight infectious diseases
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 bodys first line of defence against pathogens, more accurately known as the bodys innate immunity. The scientists found that this switch called Brutons 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 virus have made it difficult to treat with one universal drug or vaccine. As for dengue, there are currently no clinically approved vaccines or cures either. This discovery of BTKs role as a critical switch that boosts the bodys 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 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 BTKs 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 bodys 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.
More information: The research findings described in this media release can be found in the April 10, 2012 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), under the title, " Bruton's tyrosine kinase phosphorylates Toll-like receptor 3 to initiate antiviral response by Koon-Guan Leea, et al. www.pnas.org/conte… 109.abstract
- Antibodies are not required for immunity against some viruses Mar 01, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers discover how a common virus cheats death Feb 17, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Insight into HIV immunity may lead to vaccine May 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers identify new cell that attacks dengue virus May 16, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers identify key peptides that could lead to a universal vaccine for influenza Jan 31, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
Medical research 14 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (4) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot ...
49 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were more effective at protecting against pertussis than acellular pertussis vaccines during a large recent outbreak, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics.
36 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Optimal treatment of sleep apnea in patients with prediabetes improves blood sugar (glucose) levels and thus can reduce cardiometabolic risk, according to a study to be presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference in ...
22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Touted for safety, ease and patient convenience, peripherally inserted central catheters have become many clinicians' go-to for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications.
57 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
42 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A new measure of the heterogeneity – the variety of genetic mutations – of cells within a tumor appears to predict treatment outcomes of patients with the most common type of head and neck cancer. In the May 20 issue ...
22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0