Finnish Research Group Discovers a New Immune System Regulator

​Regulatory T cells are critical controllers of the immune response. The majority of T cells boost the immune response enhancing the ability to destroy cancer cells, viruses and bacteria. In contrast, regulatory T cells can sometimes suppress the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells, allowing cancer to grow and spread. In these instances, inhibiting or braking the regulatory T cell activity would be needed. 

– We discovered that a protein called ‘Hypermethylated In Cancer 1’, or HIC1, serves as the key regulator of regulatory T cells controlling the expression of a large set of genes contributing to T cell function, says Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa.

– In addition, with genome-wide methods we show that HIC1 binds to sites in the nucleus that often contain genetic variations associated with immune-mediated diseases. This gives us completely new insights into molecular mechanisms that regulate T cell function and immune response in general, continues Lahesmaa.

The study was published in the Cell Reports journal on 20 February 2018.

>> Transcriptional Repressor HIC1 Contributes to Suppressive Function of Human Induced Regulatory T Cells

TJ/SY
Photo: Hanna Oksanen

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Published date 2/22/2018 1:10 PM ,  Modified date 2/22/2018 3:11 PM

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