New research published in the July 4 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports the identification of a protein that acts beneficially on a second protein which, when in an unstable state, contributes to Crohn’s disease. The authors assert that the discovery may facilitate the development of new and more effective therapies for the painful inflammatory bowel disorder.
The immune system’s effort to distinguish between bad and good bacteria in the digestive system relies on a complex network of receptors that can sense patterns and trigger an immune response when appropriate. Chronic inflammatory disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, are hypothesized to arise as a result of immune responses to the wrong bacteria. The study identified the presence of a “chaperone” molecule that assists a second protein in signaling the appropriate response. A better understanding the relationship and the signaling mechanism may lead to better therapies for the disorder. A news story about the research findings may be read here.