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The Scandinavian Society for Immunology (SSI) includes the national immunological societies of the 5 Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. SSI has currently >1000 members.

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Selected articles July 2016

On the importance of the oligomeric state of MBL

Oligomerization of Mannan-binding Lectin Dictates Binding Properties and Complement Activation

T. R. Kjaer, L. Jensen, A. Hansen, R. Dani, J. C. Jensenius, J. Dobó, P. Gál and S. Thiel

 

In this publication, Danish researchers shed light on the importance of the oligomeric state of a lectin pathway pattern recognition molecule, MBL.

 

Troels R. Kjaer is the first author of the paper.

 

I had recently finished my PhD and was working as a research assistant at time of preparation of this paper, he says.

 

Troels R. Kjaer was involved in all aspects of the work, e.g. designing, planning, and executing experiments, and in addition he had the main responsibility of writing the manuscript.

 

– When assessing complement activation and pathogen recognition, which are the classical features to explore for pattern recognition molecules, it is clear that higher oligomeric forms of MBL perform better. I believe that our main finding is the demonstration of this.

 

The group´s finding underscores that within the immune system it is too simplistic only to consider the one-to-one interaction between, e.g. two proteins. Instead it is important to consider the importance of multivalency that occurs in several situations.

 

– This publication is the outcome of fantastic cooperation between all parties involved. To be part of the pulsing research environment created by my co-authors has been a fun and rewarding experience. Obviously, the moment we observed results that correlated with our hypothesis was an exciting moment where things suddenly started to make sense.

 

MBL is just one of many pattern recognition molecules in the lectin pathway.

 

– It would be nice to see how oligomerization affects the others. Maybe the conclusions we draw here for MBL are transferable to these molecules, Troels R. Kjaer concludes.

 

 

 

On MBL in Hepatitis C virus infection

MBL2 Genetic Variants in HCV Infection Susceptibility, Spontaneous Viral Clearance and Pegylated Interferon Plus Ribavirin Treatment Response (pages 61–69)

L. Zupin, V. Polesello, G. Alberi, G. Moratelli, S. L. Crocè, F. Masutti, G. Pozzato, S. Crovella and L. Segat

 

In this work, 203 Italian Hepatitis C patients and 61 healthy controls were enrolled and genotyped for the five MBL2 polymorphisms to investigate their role in Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection susceptibility, spontaneous viral clearance and treatment response.

 

Hepatitis C is a common hepatic disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus, affecting globally around 130–150 million persons. An important component of the innate immune system, the mannose-binding protein C (MBL) potentially possesses a functional activity against HCV.

 

So, with the aim to investigate a possible role of MBL2 genetic variants in the context of HCV infection susceptibility, spontaneous viral clearance and response to certain therapies, an association study was performed for analysing MBL2 polymorphisms in a group of HCV patients and healthy controls from north-east Italy.

 

Additionally, a meta-analysis was performed to unravel the possible role of MBL2 genetic variants in HCV infection.

 

Although the MBL innate immunity molecule has been reported as possessing antiviral activity against HCV, in this study the researchers did not find association between functional MBL2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to be infected by HCV.

 

The genetic factors that influence the natural course of HCV infection and the response to treatment are not yet fully understood. In this work, MBL2 gene polymorphisms were analysed as a potential factor involved in HCV infection susceptibility and therapy outcome. MBL2 polymorphisms seemed to interfere marginally with interferon therapy response.

 

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