Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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May the cellular mechanical force be with you Get a Grip

Protein called DGKζ underlies the strength of B-cell binding to pathogens

04 May 2020

Get a Grip

Like any good security guard, B cells need a firm grip to catch anything that might try to squirm away. They patrol the body hunting invaders and then locking on to mark them for destruction by other immune cells. Researchers keen to better explain how a particular protein, DGKζ, helps them get a grip on dangerous bacteria and viruses looked at what happens in mice without it. Their B cells showed reduced mechanical strength and were unable to cling on to unwanted invaders (shown being tested, with the B cell, centre, adhering to a bead coated with foreign substances, right). As a result, the mice produced fewer antibodies, the structures designed to fight off infections. Molecules like DGKζ are potential targets for treatments for autoimmune diseases and even cancer, and this explanation of how they impact B cell behaviour might help researchers get to grips with these conditions.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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