Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birds appear to lack important anti-inflammatory protein

Date:
September 16, 2013
Source:
American Physiological Society (APS)
Summary:
Bird diseases can have a vast impact on humans, so understanding their immune systems can be a benefit for people. An important element in the immune system of many animals is the protein TTP, which plays an anti-inflammatory role, yet researchers have been unable to find it in birds. New research suggests birds are an anomaly.

Crow. From bird flu to the West Nile virus, bird diseases can have a vast impact on humans.
Credit: pink candy / Fotolia

From bird flu to the West Nile virus, bird diseases can have a vast impact on humans. Thus, understanding bird immune systems can help people in a variety of ways, including protecting ourselves from disease and protecting our interests in birds as food animals. An important element in the immune system of many animals' immune systems -- including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and most animals with a backbone -- is a protein called tristetraprolin, or TTP. TTP plays an anti-inflammatory role, largely through keeping another protein, called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), in check. Studies have shown that mice bred without TTP develop chronic inflammation that affects their entire bodies. Even animals missing TTP in just one immune cell type develop a catastrophic and deadly inflammation when they're exposed to tiny amounts of a molecule from bacteria, underlying the importance of this protein. And yet, researchers have not been able to find TTP in birds.

Could birds really be that different from the vast majority of their closest animal relatives? To answer that question, researcher Perry Blackshear and his colleagues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences conducted a comprehensive examination, using several different methods to look for TTP in birds. Their results suggest that birds are truly an anomaly, having no analog for TTP in their immune systems.

Their article is entitled "Life Without TTP: Apparent Absence of an Important Anti-Inflammatory Protein in Birds." It appears in the Articles in Press section of the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology The researchers performed a comprehensive search to look for TTP in birds using several different approaches, to include databases of bird genomes in order to look for sequences of bird genes that were similar to other animals' genes for TTP. They also exposed chicken cells to protein from other animals and a molecule from bacteria, both scenarios that stimulate TTP production in other animals, looking directly for TTP production. Finally, they looked at which genes were active when these chicken cells were exposed to the foreign proteins and bacteria molecule to see if any genes were the chicken version of TTP.

Results Despite this wide-ranging search, the study authors didn't find any bird analog to TTP. Though their genomic searches turned up sequences for close relatives in the same protein family as TTP in birds and all the other animals they compared, they couldn't find any bird version of TTP in bird genetic databases. Tests showed that the chicken cells they studied didn't produce TTP when exposed to foreign animal proteins or a bacterial molecule. Additionally, these cells had no evidence of active genes during these tests that appeared to be for TTP production.

Importance of the Findings These findings suggest that, surprisingly, birds are missing this protein that is so pivotal to their closest relatives' immune systems. To better understand how birds combat disease, the authors say, researchers will need to figure out how birds handle the same immune challenges differently compared to mammals, reptiles, and other animals that make TTP.

"From an immunological standpoint," the authors say, "it will be both interesting and important to determine how birds cope differently with the environmental and microbiological assaults that stimulate the acute innate immune response in mammals. This will be important to understand, both to protect birds from infections, and to protect man from bird-transmitted" viruses.

Study Team In addition to Dr. Blackshear, the study team included Wi S. Lai, Deborah J. Stumpo, Elizabeth A. Kennington, Adam B. Burkholder, James M. Ward, and David L. Fargo, all of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society (APS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. S. Lai, D. J. Stumpo, E. A. Kennington, A. B. Burkholder, J. M. Ward, D. L. Fargo, P. J. Blackshear. Life without TTP: Apparent absence of an important anti-inflammatory protein in birds. AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 2013; DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00310.2013

Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society (APS). "Birds appear to lack important anti-inflammatory protein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916103350.htm>.
American Physiological Society (APS). (2013, September 16). Birds appear to lack important anti-inflammatory protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916103350.htm
American Physiological Society (APS). "Birds appear to lack important anti-inflammatory protein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916103350.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) 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:
from the past week

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