A new paradigm for gene regulation

10 March 2015

Roquin, a protein that has a key role in the body's immune system has now been shown to regulate miR-146a longevity, a miRNA that is important for regulating the function of a T cell subset (T follicular helper cells: “Tfh") that mediates antibody production. The research work was carried out in Professa Carola Vinuesa’s laboratory and was recently published in two separate articles in the journal Nature Communications. The first part of the work led by Monika Srivastava and Tony Duan identified the molecular basis that underpins the changes in the cellular content of miR-146a, a miRNA linked to autoimmunity and cancer. The second part led by Alvin Pratama identified how defective miR-146a leads to accumulation of Tfh cells through impaired repression of ICOS, to cause pathology. These findings highlight the role of Roquin in miRNA biology and may pave new ways for the development of drugs to fight autoimmune diseases such as lupus and certain cancers.