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
SEP 06, 2020
Microbiology
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
SEP 06, 2020
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
Effective vaccines have to trigger an immune response, which is intended to create an immune 'memory' of a specific infe ...
OCT 01, 2020
Immunology
Immune Cells and MS: The Good, the Bad, and the Maybe
OCT 01, 2020
Immune Cells and MS: The Good, the Bad, and the Maybe
Much like electrical wires that are encased in plastic insulating sheaths, nerve cells also are also surrounded by a sim ...
OCT 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
OCT 12, 2020
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapies are becoming increasingly promising as a standard-of-care treatment. However, despite their promi ...
OCT 27, 2020
Immunology
The Genetics of Skin Inflammation, Seen With Unprecedented Clarity
OCT 27, 2020
The Genetics of Skin Inflammation, Seen With Unprecedented Clarity
A recent study published in Immunity details MIT scientists’ exploration of the underlying mechanisms of inflammat ...
OCT 28, 2020
Microbiology
Immune Cells Link Gum Disease to Inflammatory DIsorders
OCT 28, 2020
Immune Cells Link Gum Disease to Inflammatory DIsorders
Scientists and clinicians know that oral health and inflammation, which is a part of many diseases, are connected.
NOV 16, 2020
Immunology
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
NOV 16, 2020
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that will hopefully end this pandemic and he ...
Loading Comments...