Glue inside the cell

Oct 19, 2007

The acquired immune response is triggered after specific engagement of foreign peptides (antigens) by receptor molecules on white blood cell (lymphocytes). Cellular signaling pathways are responsible for the activation of lymphocytes. Krappmann and co-workers present evidence, that in T cells, which constitute a subgroup of lymphocytes, ubiquitin is attached to the Malt1 protein in response to antigen stimulation.

Malt1 is part of the CBM (Carma1-Bcl10-Malt1) complex that constitutes a crucial switch for the activation of the immune defense. Using biochemical, molecular and genetic techniques the scientists could prove that this novel Malt1 ubiquitination is an essential step in the regulation of T cell activation.

‘Mechanistically, ubiquitin is virtually acting as all-purpose glue that links different protein components inside the cell’, Krappmann explains. ’However, ubiquitination provides an important advantage compared to conventional adhesives: It is reversible, meaning that the associations can be resolved’.

This process of de-ubiquitination is constantly happening in cells and it could contribute to prevent an over-shooting activation of T cells. Unopposed lymphocyte activity is responsible for many chronic diseases, autoimmunity or even lymphoma development. Future work must address the status of Malt1 ubiquitination under pathological conditions, for instance in Malt1 dependent lymphomas. By this the scientists hope to demonstrate the potential of targeting the ubiquitin system for the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Source: GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health

Explore further: Diabetes drug found in freshwater is a potential cause of intersex fish

Related Stories

Perseverance paves way for wind laser

38 minutes ago

Developing new satellite instruments is always challenging, but at times more head-scratching is needed to create something truly cutting-edge. ESA's Aeolus mission may have caused a few headaches along the ...

Testosterone key to new bird bang theory

39 minutes ago

New research from a Wake Forest University biologist who studies animal behavior suggests that evolution is hard at work when it comes to the acrobatic courtship dances of a tropical bird species.

Recommended for you

York's anti-malarial plant given Chinese approval

Apr 24, 2015

A new hybrid plant used in anti-malarial drug production, developed by scientists at the University of York's Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), is now registered as a new variety in China.

The appeal of being anti-GMO

Apr 24, 2015

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions ...

Micro fingers for arranging single cells

Apr 24, 2015

Functional analysis of a cell, which is the fundamental unit of life, is important for gaining new insights into medical and pharmaceutical fields. For efficiently studying cell functions, it is essential ...

User comments : 0

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.