Veterinary researchers discover important piece of antiviral defense
The findings are important in demonstrating how one piece of the defense system affects the overall immune system as it protects the body from viral infections. This is especially true for respiratory viruses, which settle in mucosal sites.
The protein, called protein tumor progress locus 2 (Tpl2), controls the signaling between the cell surface to the intracellular receptors that detect pathogens. This protein also determines how many immune signaling proteins, or interferons, are produced in the body, which is a big part of the immune system’s protective shield.
Before this study, scientists knew very little about the operations behind Tpl2 within the body. The study results can be used to help researchers further understand how the immune system fights influenza and similar viruses, like rotavirus and respiratory syncytial virus, which affect the mucosal sites in the body.
"Tpl2 regulates inflammation and inflammation is a necessary part of a host's defense against infection," Wendy Watford, corresponding author on the study and an associate professor of infectious diseases in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, said.