'WAVE1' identified as key protein in sepsis

June 27, 2013, Medical University of Vienna

Sepsis is a feared complication in bacterial infections. Despite treatment with antibiotics this uncontrolled systemic inflammation is linked to a very high mortality rate because there is no treatment that could bring the inflammatory reaction under control. In a publication, which has just been published, researchers from the MedUni Vienna belonging to the working group under Sylvia Knapp identify the "WAVE1" protein as a significant factor in these inflammatory processes.

In their study, Ulrich Matt and Omar Sharif from the working group under Sylvia Knapp (head of the Laboratory for Infection Biology at the University Department of Internal Medicine 1), describe how uncontrolled inflammations can block the : are produced to defend against bacterial infections. These kill the pathogens, but at the same time damage the body's own structures such as cell membranes. If these phospholipid membranes are oxidised, they interfere in the inflammatory process and block phagocytosis, the mechanism in which are removed by phagocytes.

A key protein in this mechanism is the "WAVE1" protein which binds with actin, the cell's structural protein. If WAVE1 is missing, oxidised lipids can no longer affect the engulfing of bacteria and thus the defence against infection is once more intact. Consequently, a sepsis caused by the common pathogen Escherichia coli is more survivable.

In addition, the researchers found out that oxidised lipids also occur in the peritoneal dialysates of patients with , and that these lipids can also block the phagocytosis of bacteria – but only when the WAVE1 protein is present. This knowledge is interesting due to the fact that patients with long-term exhibit a raised risk of infection for various, mostly unexplained reasons.

"A targeted blocking of inflammatory molecules, which interfere negatively in the body's defence mechanisms, appears attractive," says the author of the study, Ulrich Matt: "The new insights do at any rate expand our understanding of the innate immune response in the defence against bacteria and highlight a potentially interesting approach for treatment to take." Further studies are now ongoing to examine to what extent a therapeutic intervention via WAVE1 would make sense. "Before the clinical application of an immunomodulating treatment can occur there is still quite a way to go," is how Sylvia Knapp sums up the position.

Explore further: Study finds immunity protein that ramps up inflammation, and agents that can block it

More information: Matt, U. et al. WAVE1 mediates suppression of phagocytosis by phospholipid-derived DAMPs, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2013;123(7). doi:10.1172/JCI60681.

Related Stories

Study finds immunity protein that ramps up inflammation, and agents that can block it

March 31, 2013
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have discovered a new biological pathway of innate immunity that ramps up inflammation and then identified agents that can block it, leading to increased survival ...

Molecular causes for life-threatening fungal infections in case of sepsis unravelled

July 27, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Pathogenic fungi cause infections with a high mortality rate in patients with weakened immune systems. At Karl Kuchler’s CD Laboratory at the MedUni Vienna, the molecular causes of the life-threatening ...

Researchers identify unforeseen regulation of the anti-bacterial immune response

August 28, 2012
New research from the laboratory of Dr. Andrea Cooper at the Trudeau Institute, just published in the European Journal of Immunology, holds promise for the improved prevention and treatment of bacterial infections and the ...

A new 'on' signal for inflammation

May 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Inflammation is an important response in the body - it helps you to kill off invaders such bacteria that could cause a harmful infection. But if it's chronic or uncontrolled, inflammation can also cause ...

Preventing blood poisoning

May 17, 2013
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.

Recommended for you

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

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.