Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk), a protein critical for B cell survival, must be tightly controlled to avoid cancer or immunodeficiency. In the October issue of Nature Immunology (Vol. 2, No. 10, Oct 01), scientists have isolated a protein that inhibits Btk activity. The discovery of this negative regulator may lead to a better understanding of immunodeficiency syndromes and the expansion of B cells, which produce antibodies to fight infections.
Various molecules that switch on Btk have been reported, but how the enzymatic activity of Btk is controlled has remained elusive. Giuseppe Scala and colleagues from Italy and the USA have identified a molecule, IBtk (inhibitor of Btk) that offers new insight into the regulation of Btk activity. By binding to a particular domain of Btk, the IBtk inhibitor protein interferes with further signal transmission and activation of cell survival genes.
Dr. Giuseppe Scala
University Federico II
Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnologies
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(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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