On the 21st, the Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) announced that the research team led by Professor Sang-Jun Lee from the Department of Life Sciences and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States reported that the ZBP1 gene, known as innate immune sensor, increases the death rate of COVID-19 patients. it was announced that he had
According to the research team, this gene recognizes the virus that has penetrated the cell and gives a signal to make a cytokine, an immune protein.
However, if the COVID-19 virus has penetrated, they make too many cytokines.
When there are too many cytokines, simultaneous inflammatory cell death (PANoptosis) occurs, which causes systemic inflammation, or a cytokine storm, which increases patient mortality.
The research team found the ZBP1 gene using gene editing technology that removes the gene from macrophages infected with Corona virus 19.
Macrophages with this gene were killed by a cytokine storm following infection with Corona virus 19, but macrophages with the removed gene did not die even after being infected with Corona virus 19.
The research team also found the reason why ‘Interferon (IFN) therapy’, commonly used to treat viruses, does not work well for patients with COVID-19.
Interferon is an immune substance that is secreted when an immune sensor recognizes a virus, etc., and plays a role in creating a protein that can fight the virus.
The ZBP1 gene is also more strongly expressed by interferon, causing inflammatory cell death and a cytokine storm, the team explained.
The research team also tested the relationship between interferon and ZBP1 genes in small animals infected with the COVID-19 virus.
All pups died only when interferon was injected in the presence of the ZBP1 gene, and none of the pups died when only one of the two conditions was given.
Professor Lee said, “If we can control the expression of the ZBP1 gene, we can create a new drug to treat COVID-19 patients by balancing the activation of immune cells. Because it inhibits it, it will be able to have versatility to treat any virus infection, ” he said.
The results of the research were published in the scientific journal ‘Science Immunology’.
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