Molecule crucial in activating innate immune response identified

January 17th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin  

London, Jan 17(ANI): Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre have found a new molecule that plays a vital role in activating the innate immune response from a fly to humans.

The study led by Dr. Michael Boutros of the German Cancer Research Centre along with a team from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Strasbourg was conducted in fruit flies with the help of RNA interference (RNAi) method.

The cells of the innate immune system identify the invaders with the help of receptors on their surface and send a message through a complicated signaling pathway, into the cells interior. Consequently the cells discharge immunologically active proteins.

Using the fact, the team deactivated the individual molecules of the signalling pathway in the fruit fly and encountered a new member called Akirin meaning, “making things clear” in Japanese.

They restrained Akirin production in the immune cells of the flies, which revealed that they were notably more vulnerable to bacterial infections. And when they reduced the protein in all body cells, the fly larvae died in an early stage. The same was observed in Osaka University in the mouse model.

“What is called the NF-UB signalling pathway plays an important role in inflammations, and inflammations are highly relevant in cancer development,” said Boutros.

“Therefore, the search is on for small molecules that can inhibit this signalling pathway.”

First inhibitors acting against other links in the signaling chain are already being tested in clinical trials. “The more links of this chain we know, the more possibilities we have to interfere with it,” he added.

The findings appear in the journal Nature Immunology. (ANI)

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