Please visit our MS learning channel on Youtube, which provides hundreds of topics from our education programs, that were video-recorded and archived here: www.youtube.com/msviewsandnews -- Be empowered with MS news by registering with us: www.register.msviewsandnews.org
-- Scroll left side of this blog for needed resources. Also, use our 'search by topic' tool, to find specific information.
Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Rare’ Molecule in Immune System Is Common and May Be Part of What Goes Wrong in MS
Click here to receive MS news via e-mail
October 24, 2016
Researchers have discovered that a type of immune molecule — called “spliced epitopes,” once believed to be very rare — in fact makes up a large part of the molecules labeling cells as belonging to the body, and those that are invaders. The finding may well change our understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases.
The study, “A large fraction of HLA class I ligands are proteasome-generated spliced peptides,” recently published in the journal Science, may explain both the great flexibility of the immune system and its inclination to err. This new view of the immune system may forward research not only into MS, but also in other immune-related areas, including cancer.
When cells of the immune system scan their surroundings for invading microbes, they are not able to “see” an entire bacterium or virus. Instead, they recognize protein fragments.
As certain immune cells encounter the first microbes during an infection, they ingest them and break down their proteins into pieces. These pieces, called antigens, are then brought to the surface of the cells to flag that an infection is ongoing. In this way, an immune cell does not have to encounter a live microbe to be alerted to its presence. All cells in the body carry the same kind of flags on their surface. Immune cells recognize these labels as safe, and leave them alone.
Earlier studies found that some of these protein pieces consisted of two parts fused together. While working to map cancer mutations, researchers at Imperial College London, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health, took a new approach to map the surface of cells.
To their surprise, they discovered that fused proteins — which researchers refer to as spliced epitopes — made up nearly one-third of such fragments on human cells.
“While we were aware of the existence of these combined epitopes, we always considered them to be rather rare,” Dr. Michele Mishto at the Berlin Institute, the study’s senior author, said in a press release. “However, our results suggest that they are very frequent and are a key element in the immune response. Finding out their exact function and mode of operation may change our understanding of the immune system.”
MS Views and News
Providing educational information, resources and services for those affected by MS