MAY 08, 2018 1:02 PM PDT

Nuclear Pore Complexes Vital for T Cell Survival

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

What’s happening on the molecular level that ensures protective T cells of the immune system will do their job? A new study from Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute shows that nuclear pore complexes in the nuclear membrane are vital for T cell survival.

HeLa cells grown in tissue culture and stained in green for a protein of the nuclear pore complex. Credit: Gerry Shaw

Researchers from the present study are the first to provide evidence of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) playing a role in T cell activity regulation. NPCs facilitate the exchange of components between the nucleus and the cytoplasm inside the cell via 32 different proteins, called nucleoporins.

This activity allows NPCs to oversee gene activity and function, including genes that promote the survival of circulating T cells. This includes memory T cells, which are necessary for a healthy immune system that “remembers” certain pathogens and is ready for them when they return for a second infection. In addition to memory T cells, NPC activity is important for other CD4+ T cells that promote initiation of antibody production and regulate inflammation.

"We knew that [the nucleoporin] Nup210 was present in its highest levels in immune tissue, but we wanted to explore what this meant from a physiological perspective and whether it contributed to immune cell functions," explained lead author Joana Borlido, PhD.

Borlido’s study involved a mouse model where the subjects were genetically altered to lack the Nup210 gene. Without this gene’s activity, circulating CD4+ T cell levels took a huge hit, disrupting homeostasis. This showed the scientists that circulating T cells rely on the nuclear pore protein Nup210 to sense molecular signals vital for survival.

"Peripheral T cell homeostasis is achieved by careful orchestration of cell survival and division," explained senior author Maximiliano D'Angelo, PhD. "This study clearly links the loss of Nup210 with deficits of mature naïve CD4+ T cells, which are the cells that enable the body to fight off infections and diseases.”

“This is an unexpected discovery that may potentially be exploited for immune therapies to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, infectious diseases and cancer,” Borlido said.

"Our next step is to investigate how Nup210 promotes pro-survival functions, which could be especially important for modulating the numbers and function of T cells in immune-based therapies and autoimmune disorders," D'Angelo concluded.

The present study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Sources: Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
Yes, You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine.
DEC 15, 2020
Yes, You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine.
A recent study published in Science Translational Medicine has provided fresh insights on how our immune systems protect ...
DEC 28, 2020
Immunology
What Happens When Your Immune System Works Against You?!
DEC 28, 2020
What Happens When Your Immune System Works Against You?!
Our immune system is our army against any molecule that wants to invade our bodies like viruses, bacteria, and cancer. I ...
MAR 04, 2021
Immunology
Why Do We Need Two Shots of the COVID Vaccine?
MAR 04, 2021
Why Do We Need Two Shots of the COVID Vaccine?
Unlike social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand hygiene, vaccines are our best bet as a long-term solution to protectin ...
MAR 22, 2021
Immunology
Gene Mutation Keeps Tumors "Cold"
MAR 22, 2021
Gene Mutation Keeps Tumors "Cold"
Immunologists have identified a mechanism through which an oncogene mutation shields pancreatic tumors from immune cells ...
APR 11, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Trial Shows Personalized Cancer Vaccines are Safe
APR 11, 2021
Trial Shows Personalized Cancer Vaccines are Safe
Vaccines are mostly known as tools to prevent illness. But cancer vaccines are a bit different, and aim to treat existin ...
APR 05, 2021
Cancer
Introducing DeepTCR, the deep-learning software for T-cell receptor sequencing data
APR 05, 2021
Introducing DeepTCR, the deep-learning software for T-cell receptor sequencing data
A team from the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is introdu ...
Loading Comments...