A new mechanism regulates type I interferon production in white blood cells

January 12, 2009

A study from a team of researchers led by Dr. Andrew P. Makrigiannis, Director of the Molecular Immunology Research Unit at the IRCM, has identified a new mechanism regulating interferon production. This discovery, co-authored by scientists from the International Medical Center of Japan (Tokyo), the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (Maryland) and the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance, was published on December 22, 2008 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) is a type of white blood cell. The primary function of this cell type is to produce type I interferon when the body is infected by a virus. The pDC has special surface receptors that can detect many types of viruses. Type I interferon is thus very important for the clearance of a viral infection.

"Working with mice, we have identified a mechanism that regulates the amount of interferon that is produced by pDCs, explains Dr. Makrigiannis. That mechanism is a protein-protein interaction between surface receptor Ly49Q and the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule."

It is known that viruses often cause a decrease of class I MHC molecules on cells. The team of scientists believes that the reason for this may be to stop interferon production by the pDCs. Thus, class I MHC recognition by Ly49Q on pDCs is necessary for the optimal activation of innate immune responses in vivo.

The discovery of this molecular strategy will very likely have a great impact in virology, and could eventually help physicians develop better therapeutic strategies to fight the infectious diseases afflicting their patients.

The online version of this article is available at: jem.rupress.org/current.shtml#IN_THIS_ISSUE

Source: Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal

Explore further: Specific protein may reduce inflammation, improve survival during the flu

Related Stories

Specific protein may reduce inflammation, improve survival during the flu

February 7, 2018
GM-CSF, a protein that modifies the immune response to the flu, may also help reduce lung inflammation and improve survival during influenza, according to Penn State researchers.

Aging impairs innate immune response to flu

December 13, 2017
Aging impairs the immune system's response to the flu virus in multiple ways, weakening resistance in older adults, according to a Yale study. The research reveals why older people are at increased risk of illness and death ...

Genetic mutation could, if altered, boost flumist vaccine effectiveness, research suggests

November 28, 2017
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered a genetic mutation in the FluMist intranasal flu vaccine that has the potential to be altered to enhance the vaccine's protective effect.

Mechanism for resistance to immunotherapy treatment discovered

January 4, 2018
An urgent question for cancer scientists is why immunotherapy achieves dramatic results in some cases but doesn't help most patients. Now, two research groups from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have independently discovered ...

How cells use sophisticated signaling mechanisms to control production of interferon

February 2, 2015
The immune system has a delicate balance to maintain. When certain infected cells detect an invader, they use a molecule called interferon to rally the body's defenses. The immune system responds to this rallying cry by immediately ...

Hepatitis C virus tricks liver cells to sabotage immune defenses

November 17, 2016
The virus that causes hepatitis C protects itself by blocking signals that call up immune defenses in liver cells, according to University of Washington researchers and colleagues reporting Nov. 14 in Nature Medicine.

Recommended for you

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

February 23, 2018
A team of researchers with Texinov Medical Textiles in France has announced that their PHOS-ISTOS system, called the Fluxmedicare, is on track to be made commercially available later this year. The system consists of a piece ...

Low-calorie diet enhances intestinal regeneration after injury

February 22, 2018
Dramatic calorie restriction, diets reduced by 40 percent of a normal calorie total, have long been known to extend health span, the duration of disease-free aging, in animal studies, and even to extend life span in most ...

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

February 22, 2018
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, researchers at Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in China, Germany and Texas, ...

Gut microbes protect against sepsis—mouse study

February 22, 2018
Sepsis occurs when the body's response to the spread of bacteria or toxins to the bloodstream damages tissues and organs. The fight against sepsis could get a helping hand from a surprising source: gut bacteria. Researchers ...

Breakthrough could lead to better drugs to tackle diabetes and obesity

February 22, 2018
Breakthrough research at Monash University has shown how different areas of major diabetes and obesity drug targets can be 'activated', guiding future drug development and better treatment of diseases.

Fertility breakthrough: New research could extend egg health with age

February 22, 2018
Women have been told for years that if they don't have children before their mid-30s, they may not be able to. But a new study from Princeton University's Coleen Murphy has identified a drug that extends egg viability in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.