Research highlight

Natural signaling blocker identified

Nature Immunology

November 8, 2010

Identification of a molecule that can halt immune cell signaling through the surface receptor gp130 is reported in this week’s online edition of Nature Immunology.

Certain mediators of inflammation and heightened antibody responses signal via gp130-linked receptors, marking these pathways as potential targets for therapeutic intervention in some autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Chris Hunter and colleagues show that the protein subunit p28 of interleukin 27 binds to gp130, preventing other molecules from interacting with the receptor and thus blunts the ability of gp130 to transmit signals. As a proof-of-principle, they show mice transiently expressing p28 show less severe disease manifestation in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, which mimics aspects of the human disease multiple sclerosis.

doi: 10.1038/ni.1957

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