A mechanism used by the protein A20 to combat inflammation may hold treatment implications for autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), researchers say. Study leader Rudi Beyaert, PhD, VIB Department of Molecular Biomedical Research, University of Ghent, Germany, (pictured right) and his research team, affiliated with both VIB and the University of Ghent, articulate their hope that, “our research can eventually contribute to the development of new therapies against rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions.”
According to a recent news release, previous research suggests that A20 interferes with specific “signaling pathways” in the cells that stimulate the activity of a DNA binding molecule (NF- κB). The researchers report that during the current research, they have pinpointed a specific interaction between A20 and the NF- κB “signaling pathway.” The results indicate that a small particle (ZF7) at the end of the A20 protein binds to ubiquitin chains attached to specific NF- κB signaling proteins in the cell.
“Now that we know the importance of this small fragment (ZF7) of A20 for the anti-inflammatory effect, we can also use it as a point of focus for the development of medicines against various autoimmune diseases. This is one step closer, but we still have a long way to go,” says Beyaert.