Anti-inflammatory signal protein discovered

Feb 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have discovered a protein that is crucial in mediating the anti-inflammatory actions of nuclear lipid receptors. The findings, published in the research journal Genes & Development, link lipid metabolism and inflammation and open up new possibilities for developing treatments of metabolic diseases associated with inflammation, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Nuclear receptors are regulatory proteins within the cell nucleus that can directly bind to a variety of hormones, metabolites and pharmaceuticals. Binding affects the activity of these proteins, causing them to switch on or off that in turn leads to increased or decreased production of the proteins that carry out diverse functions within the cell.

Numerous nuclear receptors are known as master regulators of metabolism and homeostasis. Latest research indicates that these receptors also play important roles in the control of inflammation via mechanisms that remain to be clarified.

A team led by Professor Eckardt Treuter has now investigated the molecular mechanisms of how the nuclear lipid receptors LRH-1 and LXR inhibit inflammatory gene expression in liver during the so-called acute phase response. The study identified GPS2, a protein that directly interacts with receptors, as a central component of a sophisticated network - or 'genomic positioning system' - determining where and when these lipid receptors can function anti-inflammatory.

The identified pathway connects metabolism and inflammation and is therefore relevant for the understanding of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. The researchers suspect even broader roles of related pathways in different tissues linked to metabolic diseases and to cancers.

"We are now closer to understanding, at the molecular level, how dys-regulation of individual components of these pathways causes alterations in gene expression that contribute to the development of metabolic diseases linked to inflammation. This knowledge may open up novel pharmacological interventions. For example, drugs that stabilize receptor interactions with GPS2 could possibly trigger the anti-inflammatory pathway", Eckardt Treuter says.

Explore further: Project pinpoints 12 new genetic causes of developmental disorders

More information: GPS2-dependent corepressor/SUMO pathways govern anti-inflammatory actions of LRH-1 and LXRb in the hepatic acute phase response, Genes & Development, online February 16, 2010. genesdev.cshlp.org/content/24/4/381.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chemists get grip on slippery lipids

Aug 30, 2007

The ability of the body's cells to correctly receive and convey signals is crucial to good health. Lipids, or fats, play a critical role in this regulation by providing spaces for proteins to gather and network. They are ...

Penn researchers discover how key protein stops inflammation

Aug 08, 2007

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine recently identified how a regulatory protein called Bcl-3 helps to control the body’s inflammation response to infection by interfering a critical biochemical ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

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.