Scientists discover new 'off switch' in immune response
Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a new 'off switch' in our immune response, which could be boosted to treat diseases caused by immune system over-activation or blocked to improve vaccines. The research team, at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, have discovered that a protein, called TMED7, can shut down part of our immune system once an infection has been eliminated. According to Dr. Anne McGettrick, in the absence of stop signals like TMED7, our immune system would continue to rage out of control long after the infection has been cleared, leading to diseases such as septic shock. TMED7 is part of a family of proteins and it is the first member of this family to be implicated in regulating our immune system. Interestingly, a similar protein in fruit flies, called logjam, acts similarly to TMED7, limiting anti-bacterial responses.