A cellular process crucial for preventing allergy is presented in a paper published online in Nature Immunology.
Certain varieties of immune cells release interleukin 4, a protein that, upon binding to its receptor, triggers signals that promote hallmark features of allergy. Yoshinori Fukui and colleagues show that interleukin 4 receptors expressed on the surface of immune cells called T cells are quickly internalized, directed along the complex network of protein 'fibres' that support T cell structure and shape, and ultimately routed into cellular compartments for degradation. This 'harness' on interleukin 4 expression is interrupted in T cells lacking Dock2, a protein responsible for regulating the 'trafficking' of internalized cargo. As a result Dock2-deficient T cells display excessive amounts of interleukin-4 receptors and Dock2-deficient mice suffer from spontaneous allergic inflammation. Whether Dock2 regulates the intracellular fate of other T cell surface proteins remains for future investigations.
Yoshinori Fukui (Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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