A new study published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) sheds new light on a well-known mechanism required for the immune response. Researchers at the IRCM, led by Tarik Möröy, PhD, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine) at McGill University, identified a protein that controls the activity of the p53 tumour suppressor protein known as the “guardian of the genome”.
The researchers study the development of T cells and B cells, which are lymphocytes (or immune cells) that play a central role in protecting our body against infections by viruses, bacteria and other microbial agents.
“As these lymphocytes develop, they must learn how to recognize different pathogens in the body,” says Dr. Möröy, Director of the Hematopoiesis and Cancer research unit at the IRCM. “Part of this process involves the breaking and rearranging of the genes responsible for producing the lymphocyte receptors that recognize these pathogens. However, when a cell’s genome contains too many breaks, p53 (the “guardian of the genome”) gets alerted and causes the cell to die.”
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December 10, 2014