Biomedical Laboratory Science

Monday, March 6, 2017

Key Regulator of Intestinal Homeostasis Identified

SP140, an epigenetic reader protein mutated in a number of autoimmune disorders, is essential for macrophage function and preventing intestinal inflammation, scientists show. 

Artist's rendition of a macrophage in the gut and epigenome (green balls are the basic units of chromatin,
with nucleosomes wrapped twice around an octamer of a histone)
Researchers are only beginning to understand the roles of the hundreds of proteins involved in reading, writing, and erasing the epigenome. One of the epigenetic regulators, SP140, which is mutated in a number autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, is also essential to macrophage function and intestinal homeostasis in both humans and mice, scientists reported today (March 3) in Science Immunology.

“Many immune-mediated disorders are driven by a combination of genetic susceptibility as well as environmental influences [so] epigenetics is a suitable critical juncture between those two aspects of the disease,” said coauthor Kate Jeffrey, a researcher investigating the epigenetic control of innate immunity at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Source: the-scientist

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