Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Manipulating the immune system to develop 'next-gen' vaccines

Date:
April 5, 2012
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
The discovery of how a vital immune cell recognizes dead and damaged body cells could modernize vaccine technology by "tricking" cells into launching an immune response, leading to next-generation vaccines that are more specific, more effective and have fewer side-effects.

The discovery of how a vital immune cell recognises dead and damaged body cells could modernise vaccine technology by 'tricking' cells into launching an immune response, leading to next-generation vaccines that are more specific, more effective and have fewer side-effects.

Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have identified, for the first time, how a protein found on the surface of immune cells called dendritic cells recognises dangerous damage and trauma that could signify infection.

Dendritic cells are critical for raising the alarm about the presence of foreign invaders in the body such as viruses, bacteria and parasites as well as tumour cells and other dead or damaged cells. Also known as antigen-presenting cells, they digest and present molecules from damaged cells to other immune cells that recognise foreign invaders and launch an immune response.

The research was a collaborative effort that involved a team of immunologists, protein chemists and structural biologists. The research team was led by Dr Mireille Lahoud (formerly from the Immunology division), Dr Jian-Guo Zhang (Cancer and Haematology division), Dr Peter Czabotar (Structural Biology division) and Professor Ken Shortman (Immunology division).

Dr Lahoud said the study, published April 5 in the journal Immunity, demonstrated that the immune system has evolved a very clever way of detecting damaged and dead cells to help promote an immune response.

"Dr Irina Caminschi and I previously identified a protein called Clec9A (C-type lectin domain family 9A) that sits on the surface of specialised types of dendritic cells and responds to damaged and dying cells," Dr Lahoud said. "In this study we discovered that Clec9A recognises and binds to fibres of actin, internal cell proteins that are found in all cells of the body. Actin is only exposed when the cell membrane is damaged or destroyed, so it is an excellent way of finding cells that could harbour potentially dangerous infections and exposing them to the immune system."

Professor Shortman said that exploiting Clec9A could be used to generate a new, more modern class of vaccines that are more effective and have fewer side-effects. "The Clec9A protein is one of the best targets currently known for improving immune responses," he said. "By creating vaccines that bind to Clec9A, we can trick dendritic cells to think they have encountered a damaged cell and help to launch an immune response to the infectious agent of our choice."

Professor Shortman said targeting Clec9A could decrease the amount of vaccine needed by 100 to 1000 times. "Traditional vaccine technology for generating immunity, such as using inactivated whole viruses or parasites for immune recognition, requires large amounts of vaccine in the hopes it will encounter the correct immune cells, and incorporates other substances (adjuvants) that are needed to signal to the immune system that something foreign is happening. We are proposing a new type of vaccine that we know will head directly to the right cell to help stimulate an immune response, and doesn't cause the same side-effects because it is more specific," Professor Shortman said.

Dr Lahoud said that the finding could develop or increase the efficacy of vaccines for diseases that do not currently have good preventive options, such as malaria, or HIV. "There is also the possibility that the system could be used to develop therapeutic vaccines for treating diseases, such as some forms of cancer, as well as for preventing them," she said.

Since completing this research, Dr Lahoud and Dr Caminschi have accepted positions at the Burnet Institute.

This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Australian Research Council 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. Jian-Guo Zhang, PeterE. Czabotar, AntoniaN. Policheni, Irina Caminschi, Soo SanWan, Susie Kitsoulis, KirsteenM. Tullett, AdelineY. Robin, Rajini Brammananth, MarkF. vanDelft, Jinhua Lu, LorraineA. O'Reilly, EmmaC. Josefsson, BenjaminT. Kile, WeiJin Chin, JustineD. Mintern, MayaA. Olshina, Wilson Wong, Jake Baum, MarkD. Wright, DavidC.S. Huang, Narla Mohandas, RossL. Coppel, PeterM. Colman, NicosA. Nicola, Ken Shortman, MireilleH. Lahoud. The Dendritic Cell Receptor Clec9A Binds Damaged Cells via Exposed Actin Filaments. Immunity, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.03.009

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Manipulating the immune system to develop 'next-gen' vaccines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131425.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2012, April 5). Manipulating the immune system to develop 'next-gen' vaccines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131425.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Manipulating the immune system to develop 'next-gen' vaccines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405131425.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
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