Genetic trigger for disease-fighting antibodies identified

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Washington, July 17 (ANI): Scientists from La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology have identified a specific gene that signals body to produce antibodies to fight disease-causing viruses and other pathogens.

Lead researcher Dr Shane Crotty along with colleagues from Yale University have identified BCL6 gene that acts as a molecular switch for triggering disease-fighting antibodies.

The researchers hope that the new discovery will help in developing ways to boost antibody production, thereby creating stronger and more effective vaccines.

Dr Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Centre, and a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Emory University School of Medicine, called the finding an "important breakthrough."

"Dr. Crotty has defined the gene that regulates the formation of certain CD4 T cells," he said.

"Those cells are very critical for antibody production, so describing what regulates the birth of those cells is clearly an important discovery," he added.

Dr Pamela L. Schwartzberg, a senior investigator in the Cell Signaling Section of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, called the discovery a major step forward in the area of vaccine development.

"This finding defines the master regulator (gene) that triggers an elaborate cellular interaction necessary to get effective long-term antibody responses, which are required for most successful vaccines," she said.

The study is published online in the prestigious journal Science. (ANI)

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