Journal: Journal of Biological Chemistry
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Granular guardians of the immune system
©KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Scientists have identified the protein that controls the storage and release of spermine and spermidine — molecules that regulate cell growth and survival — within immune cells.
Mast cells are white blood cells filled with granules that store and release crucial chemical messengers, such as serotonin and histamine, as part of the immune response. Spermine and spermidine influence this process, but how they enter and exit the granules is unknown.
Researchers from Okayama University traced the activity of vesicular polyamine transporter (VPAT) — a protein that acts as gatekeeper for spermine and spermidine in nerve cell granules — in mast cells from rat bone marrow. They found that VPAT did control the storage and release of spermine and spermidine in mast cells, but via a different subpopulation of granules to those that discharge histamine and serotonin.
The findings suggest that mast cells carry diverse granules. Characterizing them further may help clarify their role in the immune system.
- Journal of Biological Chemistry 292, 3909-3918 (2017). doi: 10.1074/jbc.m116.756197
|Okayama University, Japan||1|