Tempering T cells
L. Collison et al., “The inhibitory cytokine IL-35 contributes to regulatory T-cell function,” Nature, 450:566–71, 2007. (Cited in 113 papers)The finding:
A research team centered at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., plucked a novel cytokine from the constellation of molecules that play a role in regulating cellular immunity. Dubbed interleukin-35 (IL-35), the compound is expressed by a subset of regulatory T cells and appears to suppress the activity of effector T cells, says Lauren Collison, a St. Jude postdoc and lead author.The significance:
From cancer to lupus, a wide variety of diseases and disorders involve improperly functioning T cells, which can attack healthy tissues or fail to adequately combat tumor cells. Identifying the role of IL-35 “means that we’re getting closer to understanding how these natural suppressive mechanisms work,” says University...
The discovery that IL-35 is an inhibitory cytokine is notable because cytokines typically help activate the immune system, not suppress it.The stumbling block:
Collison and her St. Jude colleagues are studying both the upstream steps to IL-35 activation and its downstream receptor on effector T cells, despite a dearth of effective reagents and antibodies needed to isolate and analyze the cytokine. “We’re very close to being able to describe what the receptor is,” she says.
|The three suppressive cytokines:|