News from CRG
Scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have uncovered the biological details of how cells produce a crucial molecule involved in inflammation, pointing towards a new avenue for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs. The findings are published this month in the journal Developmental Cell.
The team's research, led by Vivek Malhotra, ICREA Research Professor and head of the Intracellular Compartmentation group at the CRG, focuses on IL-1β, a protein released by immune cells in response to 'danger' signals such as bacterial infection or tissue damage, triggering inflammation that helps to fight off infection and aids healing.
Recent reports have suggested that IL-1β production might be dependent on something known as the unfolded protein response (UPR) – a ‘fail safe’ that prevents abnormal proteins building up inside cells when they are in stressful conditions, such as low nutrient levels. But growing evidence points to a role for the UPR in producing proteins under normal conditions too.
In search of the connection between the UPR and IL-1β production, Malhotra and Marioara Chiritoiu, first author of the study, took a clue from simple slime moulds and yeast that use similar pathways to secrete proteins when they are stressed. One of the key players in this process is known as GrpA, which is very similar to a protein called GRASP55 in humans and mice.
Marioara Chiritoiu, Nathalie Brouwers, Gabriele Turacchio, Marinella Pirozzi and Vivek Malhotra. GRASP55 and UPR Control Interleukin-1β Aggregation and Secretion. Developmental Cell. Published: March 14, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2019.02.011