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Protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection

Date:
May 17, 2010
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Mucormycosis is a life-threatening fungal infection. It occurs predominantly in individuals with diabetes, in particular those with the potentially life-threatening complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis. New data, generated in mice, provide an explanation as to why patients with DKA are highly susceptible to mucormyosis and suggest a new avenue of research for those developing therapeutics for this life-threatening infection.

Mucormycosis is a life-threatening infection most commonly caused by a species of fungus known as Rhizopus oryzae. It occurs predominantly in individuals with diabetes, in particular those with the potentially life-threatening complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

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A team of researchers, led by Ashraf Ibrahim, at the University of California Los Angeles, has now generated data in mice that provide an explanation as to why patients with DKA are highly susceptible to mucormyosis. The data also suggest a new avenue of research for those developing therapeutics for this life-threatening infection.

Mucormycosis is characterized by fungal invasion of the blood vessels, which results in blood clots forming in the blood vessels and local tissue destruction. In a series of in vitro experiments, the team identified the protein GRP78 as the protein to which Rhizopus oryzae binds on human blood vessel-lining cells. Interestingly, increased expression of GRP78 was observed on human blood vessel-lining cells cultured in levels of glucose and iron consistent with those seen during DKA and in the tissues that are affected during mucormycosis in mice with DKA, which are susceptible to the infection. Furthermore, mice with DKA were protected from murcomyosis by treatment with GRP78-specific immune serum.

These data provide an explanation as to why patients with DKA are highly susceptible to mucormycosis and have uncovered a potential new approach to treating this life-threatening infection.

The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mingfu Liu, Brad Spellberg, Quynh T. Phan, Yue Fu, Yong Fu, Amy S. Lee, John E. Edwards, Jr., Scott G. Filler, and Ashraf S. Ibrahim. The endothelial cell receptor GRP78 is required for mucormycosis pathogenesis in diabetic mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2010; DOI: 10.1172/JCI42164

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517171952.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2010, May 17). Protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517171952.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517171952.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

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