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 autoimmune diseases, as well as the orchestration of the immune response to infection. Findings of the study are reported in a recent online issue of The FASEB Journal, a publication of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

A team of researchers from the University of Hawai'i Cancer Research Center, Rutgers University and Washington University in St. Louis examined the normal function of PEA-15, which acts as a in some cancers including brain, ovarian and breast cancers. They found that PEA-15 normally controls lymphocyte (white blood cell) .

To determine the normal role of this protein, investigators examined mice lacking PEA-15. They found that those without the protein had both spatial learning disabilities and a pronounced increase in lymphocyte (white blood cell) proliferation. Upon closer inspection, they further found that loss of PEA-15 particularly affected a group of lymphocytes called T-cells. T-cells are involved in killing invading pathogens as well as stimulating more long-term immunity. The PEA-15 protein works by acting as a brake on a group of proteins that activate cell cycling and proliferation when they recognize a signal from an invading organism. Lymphocytes without PEA-15 continue proliferating beyond normal response levels as if they lack the "brakes" to stop.

"Understanding how T-cell expansion is controlled at the molecular level should lead to new methods to control the immune response during infection as well as perhaps helping the development of novel ways to utilize these cells to attack tumors," said Joe Ramos, Ph.D. principal investigator and assistant professor in natural products and cancer biology at the University of Hawaii. "Dysregulation of PEA-15 function might also play a role in the development or progression of lymphomas or leukemias," he added. "Finding ways to regain normal function of PEA-15 might contribute to identification of new approaches to treat these cancers. "

Explore further: The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

Provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High levels of PEA-15 shrink breast cancer tumors

Apr 20, 2009

Overexpression of PEA-15, which binds and drags an oncoprotein out of the cell nucleus where it fuels cancer growth, steeply reduced breast cancer tumors in a preclinical experiment, researchers at The University of Texas ...

Protein helps immune cells to divide and conquer

Mar 08, 2009

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key protein that is required for immune cells called B lymphocytes to divide and replicate themselves. The rapid generation of large ...

Chopping off protein puts immune cells into high gear

Jan 24, 2007

The complex task of launching a well-organized, effective immune system attack on specific targets is thrown into high gear when either of two specific enzymes chop a protein called LAG-3 off the immune cells leading that ...

Mechanisms involved with tumor relapse identified

Mar 13, 2007

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center studying the interaction between the immune system and cancer cells have identified interferon gamma as one of the signaling proteins involved with ...

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

7 hours ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

9 hours ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

Apr 16, 2014

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

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 ...

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 ...