Genetic trigger for disease-fighting antibodies identified

July 17th, 2009 - 2:03 pm ICT by ANI  

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Washington, July 17 (ANI):
Scientists from La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology have identified
a specific gene that signals body to produce antibodies to fight
disease-causing viruses and other pathogens.

Lead researcher Dr Shane
Crotty along with colleagues from Yale University have identified BCL6 gene
that acts as a molecular switch for triggering disease-fighting antibodies.

The researchers hope that
the new discovery will help in developing ways to boost antibody production,
thereby creating stronger and more effective vaccines.

Dr Rafi Ahmed, director of
the Emory Vaccine Centre, and a professor of microbiology and immunology at the
Emory University School of Medicine, called the finding an “important
breakthrough.”

“Dr. Crotty has
defined the gene that regulates the formation of certain CD4 T cells,” he
said.

“Those cells are very critical for antibody production, so
describing what regulates the birth of those cells is clearly an important
discovery,” he added.

Dr Pamela L. Schwartzberg,
a senior investigator in the Cell Signaling Section of the National Human
Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, called
the discovery a major step forward in the area of vaccine development.

“This finding defines
the master regulator (gene) that triggers an elaborate cellular interaction
necessary to get effective long-term antibody responses, which are required for
most successful vaccines,” she said.

The study is published
online in the prestigious journal Science. (ANI)

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