Photo: Nir Alon / ZumaPress / Globallookpress.com
Belgian scientists have uncovered the molecular mechanism that suppresses the immune system and contributes to the development of cancer. The researchers also identified an antibody that can block the action of this mechanism, according to a press release MedicalXpress.
Regulatory T cells (T-suppressor) control the strength and duration of the immune response, preventing the development of autoimmune diseases. These cells release a cytokine called transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta). Nearby lymphocytes recognize it and reduce its activity. The researchers found that the development of TGF-beta play the role of GARP proteins located on the surface of T-suppressors.
The researchers used x-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structure of the protein complex GARP and TGF-beta. To obtain crystals they developed a method of stabilization of the complex using specific antibodies. It turned out that GARP has a horseshoe structure and is retained in this form the molecules of TGF-beta. The antibody prevents the separation of the two molecules and prevents the release of the cytokine.
According to scientists, the results will help to develop new drugs for cancer treatment aimed at blocking production of TGF-beta.
Video, photo All from Russia.