Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders

Date:
February 16, 2012
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
Scientists have revealed new details about how cell signaling is controlled in the immune system, identifying in the process potential new therapeutic targets for treating severe blood disorders.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have revealed new details about how cell signalling is controlled in the immune system, identifying in the process potential new therapeutic targets for treating severe blood disorders.

Related Articles


Dr Jeff Babon and Professor Nick Nicola, from the institute's Structural Biology and Cancer and Haematology divisions respectively, study interactions between internal cell signalling proteins called JAKs (Janus kinases) and SOCS (Suppressors of Cytokine Signalling).

Dr Babon said the proteins were essential for blood system maintenance and immune responses.

"JAK proteins are activated in response to blood cell hormones called cytokines and instruct immune cells to respond to infection and inflammation," Dr Babon said. "SOCS proteins were discovered at the institute in the early 2000s, and provide a necessary 'negative feedback' response that stops JAKs becoming overactive, which can lead to disease."

Dr Babon said mutations in one particular protein, JAK2, are strongly associated with the development of myeloproliferative diseases.

"When JAK2 is mutated, it tells cells to continually multiply. An excessive amount of blood cells of one type are produced, and the bone marrow is overrun, leading to problems with production of other cell types, and eventually bone marrow failure," Dr Babon said.

Myeloproliferative diseases, such as polycythemia vera and essential thrombocytopenia, are serious blood disorders in which an excessive number of blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow. They can be very severe and sometimes fatal, and may progress to acute leukemias.

In a study published February 17 in the journal Immunity, Dr Babon and Professor Nicola, with colleagues Dr James Murphy and Dr Nadia Kershaw, report on a key discovery about how the proteins JAK2 and SOCS3 interact. They hope the discovery will lead to new strategies for treating myeloproliferative diseases.

"SOCS3 is a key inhibitor of JAK2 proteins in blood and immune cells, but we didn't know exactly how the two proteins interacted to suppress JAK2 function," Dr Babon said. "We wanted to identify which site the SOCS3 protein bound to on the JAK2 protein to inhibit its action, and were surprised to find that SOCS3 binds to a unique site on JAK2 and directly inhibits the protein, rather than outcompeting other molecules."

Dr Babon said the finding could inspire a new class of therapeutic agents for treating myeloproliferative diseases.

"The SOCS3 binding site is a previously unknown part of the JAK2 protein which could be exploited as a drug target, with greater specificity than other drugs that are currently in clinical trials for inhibiting JAK2," he said.

This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the National Institutes of Health, US, and the Victorian Government.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeffrey J. Babon, Nadia J. Kershaw, James M. Murphy, Leila N. Varghese, Artem Laktyushin, Samuel N. Young, Isabelle S. Lucet, Raymond S. Norton, and Nicos A. Nicola. Suppression of Cytokine Signaling by SOCS3: Characterization of the Mode of Inhibition and the Basis of Its Specificity. Immunity, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.12.015

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216133916.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2012, February 16). Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216133916.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216133916.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indians Muck in for Cleaner Communities

Indians Muck in for Cleaner Communities

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) India's government is urging all citizens to come together in a mass movement to clean the nation -- but will people heed the call? Duration: 02:39 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