Analysts study the role of subnuclear NSrp70 in T cell-intervened adaptive immunity

Analysts study the role of subnuclear NSrp70 in T cell-intervened adaptive immunity


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  • Source: GIST (Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology)

  • Date: 15 Jul,2021

T cell are part of the body’s immune response. The way proteins are spliced in their development and maturation determines how T cells can recognize different pathogens and mount defense against them. Scientists from Korea now highlight the role of NSrp70 in regulating maturation. This protein was previously found in T cells subnuclear space and could have implications for T cell-mediated adaptive immunity to viral infection and cancer.

T lymphocytes (or T cells) are immune cells that play a variety of roles in the building of immunity. How can one cell type combat a variety of pathogens? Alternative splicing is the key to adaptability. This allows cells to produce multiple types of proteins that can be used to identify and destroy different types of microbes and viruses. It is therefore not surprising that modern science is actively researching ways to increase the production of T cells capable of recognizing pathogens.

Scientists from Korea’s Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology discovered NSrp70 in 2011 which is found in motile T cells. The gene regulator NSrp70 is located in the nucleus of cells. It is found in particular regions called nuclear speckles. It is interesting to note that nuclear speckles are important in protein production. They house mRNA splicing regulators, which cut and join pre-messenger fragments of RNA to make the final messengerRNAs. Scientists have speculated about the role of NSrp70 in alternative splicing in T cell development and maturation.

Researchers from GIST, led by Professor Chang Duk Jun, have published their findings in a new study that was made online on 25/05/2021. It is now available online in Volume 49 Issue 10.

Prof. Jun explains their motivations for conducting the research by saying, ” Since we presented NSrp70 in the academic world, it has been our mission to explore its functions and mechanisms of operation.”

The scientists used a conditional gene knockout technique to study the function of the protein in mice. They activated the gene coding NSrp70, and created cell samples lacking the protein. They were able to determine the effects of the protein absence by comparing the cell samples to regular cells.

They found that NSrp70 plays an important role during T cell development and expression very early in the cell cycle. The absence of this protein caused uncontrolled cell growth in T cell precursors, double positive thymocytes. Their progression to single-positive thymocytes was impeded, stymying their ability to form mature T cells. NSrp70-deficient mice had a significantly reduced lymphocyte count within peripheral tissues. This led to uncontrolled tumor growth.

Prof. Jun sums up the findings emphatically, “Our study revealed that NSrp70 is an important regulator of T cell proliferation. This finding can help us mass-produce specific T cells for cell therapy or use mass-produced T cells to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells through gene therapy.”

With eager anticipation, the world awaits these important findings on nuclear speckles as well as constituent proteins!

Journal reference:

Kim, C-H., et al. (2021) NSrp70 is a lymphocyte-essential splicing factor that controls thymocyte development. Nucleic Acids Research.

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