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Discovery of a New Immune System Regulator

by Shravanthi Vikram on February 24, 2018 at 3:54 PM
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Discovery of a New Immune System Regulator

A new immune system regulator has been discovereD. This is the key factor that controls the development of regulatory T cells. The research forms the basis for exploring new treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases. The findings emerged from a study at Turku Centre for Biotechnology of the University of Turku and bo Akademi University in Finland.

Regulatory T cells are critical controllers of the immune response. The majority of T cells boost the immune response enhancing the ability to destroy cancer cells, viruses and bacteria. In contrast, regulatory T cells can sometimes suppress the immune system's ability to attack cancer cells, allowing cancer to grow and spread. In these instances, inhibiting or braking the regulatory T cell activity would be needed.

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"We discovered that a protein called 'Hypermethylated In Cancer 1', or HIC1, serves as the key regulator of regulatory T cells controlling the expression of a large set of genes contributing to T cell function," says Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa.

"In addition, with genome-wide methods we show that HIC1 binds to sites in the nucleus that often contain genetic variations associated with immune-mediated diseases. This gives us completely new insights into molecular mechanisms that regulate T cell function and immune response in general," continues Lahesmaa.



Source: Eurekalert
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