Breakthrough in understanding immune response

June 23, 2014 by Martin Cornish

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers led by Professor Mark Lindsay from our Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology has made a breakthrough in identifying the genes that regulate the immune response.

The is how the body recognises and defends itself against micro-organisms it sees as a threat. Under normal conditions, the immune response is switched off once the threat has passed. However, this does not always happen. This can lead to conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cancer as well as autoimmune, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

For this reason, scientists have spent many years trying to understand the mechanism that controls the immune response. Using the latest DNA sequencing technology the team from the Universities of Bath, Oxford, Imperial, Liverpool and Manchester, has discovered a family of genes that do this called long non-coding RNAs – a chemical structure similar to DNA.

Professor Lindsay said: "Advances in DNA sequencing and computing technologies now allow us to identify novel mechanisms that regulate the immune response. Our discovery has the potential to provide a new approach to treating many diseases."

Explore further: Scientists discover new mechanism regulating the immune response

More information: "Long non-coding RNAs and enhancer RNAs regulate the lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in human monocytes." Nicholas E. IIott, et al. Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3979. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4979. Received 04 October 2013 Accepted 29 April 2014 Published 09 June 2014

Related Stories

Scientists discover new mechanism regulating the immune response

June 28, 2013
Scientists at an Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence have discovered a new mechanism regulating the immune response that can leave a person susceptible to autoimmune diseases.

Discovery of asthma cause could help treat sufferers

October 5, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University of Bath have found a new cause of severe asthma that could help develop a treatment and potentially prevent the 1100 asthma deaths each year in the UK.

Scientists uncover two micro mechanisms that regulate immune system

February 26, 2014
A Keck Medicine of USC-led team of microbiologists has identified previously unknown interactions between critical proteins in the human immune response system, uncovering two independent regulatory mechanisms that keep the ...

Faster, higher, stronger: A protein that enables powerful initial immune response

June 9, 2014
Your first response to an infectious agent or antigen ordinarily takes about a week, and is relatively weak. However, if your immune system encounters that antigen a second time, the so-called memory response is rapid, powerful, ...

New agent may enhance effectiveness of radiotherapy

May 13, 2014
Scientists from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - have demonstrated the potential of a drug to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy in stopping tumour growth.

Discovery brings cancer immune therapies a step closer

February 5, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The development of new therapies to enhance the body's immune response to cancer is much closer after University of Otago scientists identified a pathway that alters the immune response in the spleen and ...

Recommended for you

Genetic immune deficiency could hold key to severe childhood infections

July 18, 2017
A gene mutation making young children extremely vulnerable to common viruses may represent a new type of immunodeficiency, according to a University of Queensland researcher.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?

July 18, 2017
What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma in adults? This can be tricky because asthma can stem from several causes and treatment often depends on what is triggering the asthma.

Large multi-ethnic study identifies many new genetic markers for lupus

July 17, 2017
Scientists from an international consortium have identified a large number of new genetic markers that predispose individuals to lupus.

Study finds molecular explanation for struggles of obese asthmatics

July 17, 2017
A large, bouquet-shaped molecule called surfactant protein A, or SP-A, may explain why obese asthma patients have harder-to-treat symptoms than their lean and overweight counterparts, according to a new study led by scientists ...

Team identifies potential cause for lupus

July 14, 2017
Leading rheumatologist and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Betty Diamond, MD, may have identified a protein as a cause for the adverse reaction of the immune system in patients suffering from lupus. A better ...

Immunosuppression underlies resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy

July 14, 2017
A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has identified a novel mechanism behind resistance to angiogenesis inhibitors - drugs that fight cancer by suppressing the formation of new blood vessels. In their report ...

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.