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Triggering Immune Responses

  April, 20 2002 1:13
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Recent research has revealed tantalizing hints of commonalities between the nervous and immune systems. In the May issue of Nature Immunology. scientists show that a protein called neuropilin-1, which is normally associated with the nervous system, also plays a role in firing off the immune response.

Tordjman and colleagues from Hôpital Necker, Paris found that neuropilin-1, a protein involved in nerve development, is also expressed by both T cells and the antigen-presenting cells (APCs) that switch them on. Formation of the immunological synapse, a specialized junction formed between APCs and T cells, caused neuropilin-1 to move to the poles of the T cell. Both APCs and T cells were able to bind soluble neuropilin-1, and T cells formed clusters around cells expressing this protein. This binding was functionally relevant, as immune responses were inhibited if the neuropilin-1 interaction between APCs and T cells were blocked. Thus, although neuropilin-1 plays a large role in the nervous system, it is now found to be critical for proper immune system function via its ability to maintain cell-cell contacts.

Author contact:

Olivier Hermine
Hôpital Necker
Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 44 49 53 86
E-mail: hermine@necker.fr

Additional contact for comment on paper:

Christoph Wülfing
Center for Immunology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX, USA
Tel: +1 214 648 7320
E-mail christoph.wuelfing@utsouthwestern.edu

Also available online.

(C) Nature Immunology press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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