2011 General Immune System Function
Dendritic Cells (DCs), the master regulators of the immune system, are in charge of coordinating the system’s response to invading viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens while simultaneously ignoring the body’s own proteins. Controlled regulation of the activation of these cells is crucial for normal functioning of the immune system, as their hyper-activation can lead to the reaction against “self-proteins” and the development of autoimmunity.
With the Novel Research Grant funding, Dr. Carla Rothlin and colleagues at Yale University found that a protein called protein-S acts as a signal to turn off dendritic cells and thereby calm down the immune system.
“Previously protein S was thought only to play a role in blood clotting,” said Dr. Rothlin. “We have discovered that it also keeps the activation of dendritic cells in check and might prevent the possibility of developing autoimmunity.”
Protein S is known to be low in lupus patients and Dr. Rothlin plans to study if this is due to genetic defects. If so, restoring protein S function could be a new strategy to treat lupus.
The results are published in the July 25, 2013 issue of the leading biomedical journal Immunity. These findings could lead to more effective therapies for many diseases caused by out-of-control immune responses, including autoimmune disorders like lupus and inflammatory bowel diseases, and allergies.
T Cell-Derived Protein S Engages TAM Receptor Signaling in Dendritic Cells to Control the Magnitude of the Immune Response. Eugenio A. Carrera Silva, Pamela Y. Chan, Leonel Joannas, Andrea E. Errasti, Nicola Gagliani, Lidia Bosurgi, Maurice Jabbour, Anthony Perry, Faye Smith-Chakmakova, Daniel Mucida, Hilde Cheroutre, Tal Burstyn-Cohen, Jonathan A. Leighton, Greg Lemke, Sourav Ghosh, Carla V. Rothlin. Immunity, Volume 39, Issue 1, 160-170, 11 July 2013.