Jun 9, 2015
The discovery by an international team led by Professor Gerard Wong could lead to better treatment & control of lupus, psoriasis, & other ailments.
Excerpt from UCLA Newsroom (by Bill Kisliuk): An international team led by researchers at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and California NanoSystems Institute has identified an unexpectedly general set of rules that determine which molecules can cause the immune system to become vulnerable to the autoimmune disorders lupus and psoriasis.
The breakthrough, described in an article published [recently] in the journal Nature Materials, could lead to new ways of treating the disorders.
Led by Gerard C. L. Wong, a UCLA professor of bioengineering and chemistry who is affiliated with CNSI, the multidisciplinary team also included Michel Gilliet of Switzerland’s Lausanne University Hospital, and Jure Dobnikar and Daan Frenkel of the University of Cambridge.
                                Bundles with the right DNA spacing can amplify immune response.   UCLA Engineering
Using synchrotron X-ray scattering and other techniques, researchers determined that a broad range of molecules, both organic and inorganic, can organize self-DNA into a liquid crystalline structure that binds strongly to the TLR9 receptors — like the teeth on either side of a zipper. This structure protects the DNA from becoming degraded and greatly amplifies the body’s immune response.
Synchrotron X-ray scattering utilizes a particle accelerator to generate X-ray beams that allow researchers to determine how atoms and molecules are organized into different structures.
“Our research has identified a set of rules that tell us what types of molecules or materials can set off this aspect of the immune system,” Wong said. “This new knowledge will make it easier to design new therapeutic strategies to control immune responses.”
Read the entire UCLA Newsroom article here.
To learn more about Prof. Wong's research visit his homepage