New insight into mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases suggests a potential therapy
Originally published March 18, 2012
Autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are caused by an immune system gone haywire, where the body’s defense system assaults and destroys healthy tissues. A mutant form of a protein called LYP has been implicated in multiple autoimmune diseases, but the precise molecular pathway involved has been unknown. Now, in a paper published March 18 in Nature Chemical Biology, Sanford-Burnham researchers show how the errant form of LYP can disrupt the immune system. In doing so, they also found a potential new therapy for autoimmune diseases—a chemical compound that appears to inhibit this mutant protein.