FEATURE: Discovery of a physiological ligand for DNGR1

2012-05-31 11:56:26

Dr Caetano Reis e Sousa's group at the London Research Institute (LRI) studies innate immune receptors involved in activation of Dendritic cells (DC) and promotion of T cell response. Previous work form his laboratory had identified DNGR1 (also known as Clec9a) as an orphan receptor on a subset of DCs that is required for cross-presentation of necrotic cell associated antigens. Recent publication in Immunity describes identification of a physiological ligand for DNGR1. A combination of approaches allowed the group to narrow down the potential ligand to F-actin. Exposure of F-actin upon cell necrosis allows the body to "sense" cell damage e.g. lysis following infection. The group hope that this discovery can be utilised to manipulate the immune system to target tumours.
DCs play a major role in the initiation and regulation of adaptive immune responses and, therefore, the manipulation of DC has tremendous potential for cancer immunotherapy and for vaccination against cancer-promoting infectious agents.
CRT worked closely with the group to protect the discovery through filing a patent application in order to facilitate further development and the identification of a suitable commercial partner, with the hope that the patients will benefit from this exciting research.
The same ligand was simultaneously identified by researchers at WEHI who published back-to-back with Dr Reis e Sousa’s publication. 

Notes to editors