Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immune cell death safeguards against autoimmune disease

Date:
September 6, 2012
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that a pair of molecules work together to kill so-called 'self-reactive' immune cells that are programmed to attack the body's own organs. The finding is helping to explain how autoimmune diseases develop.

Dr Daniel Gray and colleagues have discovered that immune cell death is an important safeguard against autoimmune diseases.
Credit: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have discovered that a pair of molecules work together to kill so-called 'self-reactive' immune cells that are programmed to attack the body's own organs. The finding is helping to explain how autoimmune diseases develop.

Related Articles


Dr Daniel Gray and colleagues from the institute's Molecular Genetics of Cancer division and the University of Ballarat discovered that the absence of two related proteins, called Puma and Bim, led to self-reactive immune cells accumulating and attacking many different body organs, causing illness. The research is published online today in the journal Immunity.

Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, develop when immune cells launch an attack on the body's own cells, destroying important body organs or structures. Around one in 20 Australians is affected by autoimmune conditions, most of which are chronic illnesses with no cure.

Puma and Bim are so-called 'BH3-only' proteins that make cells die by a process called apoptosis. Defects in apoptosis proteins have been linked to many human diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr Gray said one way the body protects against autoimmune disease is by forcing most self-reactive immune cells to die during their development. "If any self-reactive cells manage to reach maturity, the body normally has a second safeguard of switching these potentially dangerous cells into an inactive state, preventing them from causing autoimmune disease," he said.

"Until now, there has been debate about how important the death of self-reactive cells is as a protection against autoimmune diseases. Our research has identified two molecules that are needed for this process. We were able to use this discovery to show that the death of self-reactive immune cells is indeed an important protection against autoimmune disease development."

Dr Gray is now collaborating with researchers who have identified human gene defects linked to the development of autoimmune conditions. "We now know that self-reactive cell death is an important protection against autoimmunity," Dr Gray said. "The next stage of our work is to discover whether defects in the cell death process cooperate with other factors to cause human autoimmune disease."

The research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the US National Cancer Institute 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. Daniel H.D. Gray, Fiona Kupresanin, Stuart P. Berzins, Marco J. Herold, Lorraine A. O'Reilly, Philippe Bouillet, Andreas Strasser. The BH3-Only Proteins Bim and Puma Cooperate to Impose Deletional Tolerance of Organ-Specific Antigens. Immunity, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.05.030

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Immune cell death safeguards against autoimmune disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906123230.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2012, September 6). Immune cell death safeguards against autoimmune disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906123230.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Immune cell death safeguards against autoimmune disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906123230.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