Regulation of T cells by microRNAs

Lead Research Organisation: Babraham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


T lymphocytes are a sub-type of white blood cells. They provide long term immunity following disease or vaccination, being therefore essential for normal health. Deregulation of lymphocytes may lead to autoimmune diseases or cancer. Consequently, understanding the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte differentiation (specialisation) is an important priority. MicroRNAs are a recently discovered type of molecule increasingly recognised as being essential for many biological processes. Until recently, nothing has been known on the role of specific microRNAs in B lymphocyte differentiation, but it is anticipated that microRNAs will be shown to be important regulators of lymphocyte function. In this regard, we have recently reported that one microRNA, miR-155, regulates important functions of B and T cells. This project is designed to gain a better understanding of how this microRNA controls the function of T cells. MicroRNA expression ('production' from DNA) is altered in cancer and it is likely that in the future pharmaceutical companies will target them. The knowledge obtained from my proposed work will provide insights into a new mechanism regulating lymphocyte differentiation which in the long term may impact on the design of therapies for treatment of human diseases.


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