Recently Developed Alarm Molecule Drives Inflammation – Zoo House News

Recently Developed Alarm Molecule Drives Inflammation – Zoo House News

  • Science
  • December 19, 2022
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Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have made an important breakthrough in understanding how inflammation is regulated. You’ve just discovered that a key immune alarm protein that was once thought to calm down the immune response actually does the opposite.

Her work has numerous potential implications, particularly related to understanding and responding to autoimmune diseases and inflammation.

While our immune system has a very important role in protecting us from infection and injury, an overly aggressive immune response can lead to the harmful inflammation seen in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Inflammation is triggered when our body produces “alarm proteins” (interleukins) that increase our defenses against infection and injury by activating various components of our immune system.

Understanding how and when such alarm proteins are produced and how they activate our immune system has led to major breakthroughs in the treatment of many immune disorders.

Now, scientists at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, led by Seamus Martin, Smurfit Professor of Genetics, have found that interleukin-37 has an unexpected function as an immune-activating molecule, as previous studies suggested this interleukin served instead as an “off switch” for the immune system.

ProfessorMartin said:

“Interleukins play a key role in regulating our immune system in response to bacterial and fungal infections. However, interleukin-37 has long remained a mystery because it is not found in mammals such as mice. This has been a major obstacle to research into what it does, as much of what we know about the human immune system was first discovered in model organisms whose biological composition is similar to ours.”

Before the new study, interleukin-37 was believed to have immunosuppressive functions, but exactly how it turns off inflammation has been hotly debated. However, Trinity scientists now report that when properly activated, interleukin-37 exhibits potent pro-inflammatory activity.

Professor Martin added:

“This pro-inflammatory effect was highly unexpected. Our work shows that the protein binds to an interleukin receptor in the skin that is known to play a key role in the development of psoriasis, increasing the number of immune alarm molecules that signal through this particular interleukin receptor to four.

“Why there are so many interleukins binding to the same receptor is a mystery, but if we speculate, it could be because this receptor performs a very important sentinel function in our skin and that one alarm protein is simply not enough to respond to the many.” various infectious agents to which our skin is exposed. Our skin is the primary barrier between our bodies and the outside world that microbes must break through if they want to enter our bodies, and in many ways represents the first line of defense in our immune system.”

Therefore, interleukin-37 and other immune alarm proteins may have evolved into different variations on the same theme, allowing our bodies to recognize different types of infections by being activated by enzymes that are different for each infectious agent.

The research, just published in the journal Science Immunology, was a collaboration between several Trinity research groups led by Professor Martin’s team, which included postdoctoral researchers Dr. Graeme Sullivan and Dr. Pavel Davidovich and research groups led by Professor Ed included Lavelle (School of Biochemistry and Immunology) and Professor Pat Walsh (School of Clinical Medicine).

story source:

Materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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