Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify Candidate Immunosuppressant With Fewer Side Effects

Date:
April 28, 1998
Source:
Harvard Medical School
Summary:
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Blood Research have identified a peptide that may serve as a template for a drug that can suppress the immune response with fewer side effects than immunosuppressants currently available.

BOSTON-April 22, 1998--Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Blood Research have identified a peptide that may serve as a template for a drug that can suppress the immune response with fewer side effects than immunosuppressants currently available. In addition to benefiting people who receive organ transplants, a drug based on this agent potentially could be used to treat chronic conditions caused by excessive or inappropriate immune responses, such as asthma, inflammation, allergies, and rheumatoid arthritis. Their findings are published in the April 24 Molecular Cell.

Related Articles


The two main immunosuppressant drugs used today, cyclosporin A and FK506, prevent the rejection of foreign organs or bone marrow by disrupting the signaling pathway that activates T cells. But both drugs can cause kidney and nervous system damage, making them unsuitable for wider clinical application. The newly identified peptide prevents a single, specific step in the immune system's signaling pathway, so researchers anticipate that it will not cause serious side effects.

Anjana Rao, professor of pathology, Patrick Hogan, investigator, and their colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Blood Research made a peptide that binds to calcineurin, a key molecule in the pathway that transmits signals from the T cell receptor to the nucleus. The key difference between how the peptide and the drugs cyclosporin A and FK506 work is the region on calcineurin where each of these agents bind. Cyclosporin A and FK506 block the active site of calcineurin and prevent it from acting on any other molecules within the cell. The peptide, on the other hand, only blocks specific binding between calcineurin and NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells). Other calcineurin functions are unimpeded.

With the peptide in place, calcineurin is unable to bind to the transcription factor NFAT and the signaling pathway is halted. In the absence of the peptide, NFAT moves into the nucleus and turns on expression of soluble immune factors such as the cytokine interleukin 2. Release of interleukin 2 activates neighboring T cells and escalates the immune response.

The pivotal role of NFAT in T cell activation and immunosuppression makes it an active area of current research. Two groups of Harvard investigators reported the structure of NFAT bound to DNA in the March 5 Nature and the March 6 Cell. Using x-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance respectively, the scientists were able to see how NFAT attaches to DNA, and how its structure changes during this process. Knowing what NFAT looks like improves researchers' ability to design new drugs to interfere with its activity and suppress the immune system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard Medical School. "Researchers Identify Candidate Immunosuppressant With Fewer Side Effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428074733.htm>.
Harvard Medical School. (1998, April 28). Researchers Identify Candidate Immunosuppressant With Fewer Side Effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428074733.htm
Harvard Medical School. "Researchers Identify Candidate Immunosuppressant With Fewer Side Effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428074733.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins