May 14, 2009
Protein Identified to Curb Severe Inflammation
Sepsis, the severe inflammatory condition caused by bacterial infection, which commonly afflicts patients in intensive care units (ICU), may soon be less life-threatening. Scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have identified the protein, WIP1, as the molecular “brake” to curb severe inflammation in the body.
In their landmark paper published in the May 2009 print issue of Nature Cell Biology (NCB) and entitled, “WIP1 phosphatase is a negative regulator of NFκB signaling”, the group of scientists led by IMCB principal investigator, Dr Vinay Tergaonkar, highlighted the importance of WIP1 as an effective suppressor of inflammation and explained how the body was able to cope with an excess of inflammation brought on by the hyperactivation of NFκB. “We have shown that WIP1 plays a critical role in suppressing the activity of NFκB and keeping NFκB levels within a safe range. In doing so, WIP1 minimizes the extent of inflammatory response that could lead to septic shock and subsequent death of patients,” said Dr Tergaonkar.
In their experiments to measure the level of inflammatory response in laboratory mice, Dr Tergaonkar and his colleagues discovered that the inflammatory response in mice lacking in WIP1 was higher than that of the control group of mice with normal WIP1 levels. Correspondingly, the scientists also found that the inflammatory response in mice with high WIP1 levels was suppressed.
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