New clues discovered regarding how immune cells operate

Mar 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the University of Dundee have identified control mechanisms that allow certain white blood cells, which have a vital role in fighting viral infections and dealing with organ transplants, to carry out their work.

Cytotoxic T cells are a subpopulation of that work by killing the cells in our bodies that have become infected with viruses. They also play a key part in how the human body rejects organ transplants.

In two recent papers, researchers at the University of Dundee, led by Professor Doreen Cantrell, have examined the control mechanisms that allow these cells to perform their role.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Immunology, the researchers reveal the complexity of protein modifications in cytotoxic T cells for the first time. In this paper, the team identified a key molecule that controls the ability of cytotoxic T cells to produce antiviral cytokines.

In a second paper, published in the journal Immunity, the Cantrell group turned its focus to the role of B (PKB), which controls and energy production in many cell types. The researchers showed that this is not the role of PKB in T cells. Instead, PKB has an essential role in directing the migration of T cells away from lymphoid organs and towards sites of infection in the tissues.

"The most significant finding from these two pieces of work is that they identify two different ways that we can manipulate cytotoxic T-cell function," said Professor Cantrell. "This is important, for instance, for , and also following organ transplantation, as it gives us ideas about how to stop the 'killer' function of T cells."

Explore further: Research points to potential treatment strategy for Fragile X syndrome

More information: -- Navarro MN et al. Phosphoproteomic analysis identification of an intrinsic pathway for the regulation of histone deacetylase 7 that controls the function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Nat Immunol 2011 [epub ahead of print]

-- Macintyre AN et al. Protein kinase B controls transcriptional programs that direct cytotoxic T cell fate but is dispensable for T cell metabolism. Immunity 2011;34(2):224-36.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New role for natural killers

Aug 27, 2008

Scientists at the University of York have discovered a new role for a population of white blood cells, which may lead to improved treatments for chronic infections and cancer.

Study finds key protein controls T-cell proliferation

May 04, 2010

New research has identified that a key protein called PEA-15 stops T-cell proliferation by blocking the cell's ability to reproduce. The control of T-cell proliferation is essential in preventing certain blood cancers and ...

Baffling the body into accepting transplants

Jan 21, 2009

An unexpected discovery made by a Sydney scientist has potential to alter the body's response to anything it perceives as not 'self', such as a tissue or organ transplant.

Recommended for you

New pain relief targets discovered

1 hour ago

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

2 hours ago

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other ...

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

5 hours ago

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...