Leading the way to a cure


Identifying IRF5-Mediated Pathways In Normal And SLE B Cells

Feng, Di, PhD

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Numerous genes, proteins and enzymes are involved in the underlying dysfunction of lupus. One such protein is interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5). This protein regulates key pro-inflammatory molecules, or ctyokines, such as interferon alpha (IFNα), interleukin (IL) IL-6, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), which are elevated in people with lupus. 

However, little is known about the contribution of IRF5 to the development of human lupus. Based on murine studies, it is thought that IRF5 may play a role in the B cell dysfunction of lupus by affecting B cell activation, proliferation, differentiation, autoantibody production, and cytokine expression, among other processes.

With their grant, Dr. Feng and his team will explore two key questions: What is the essential function of IRF5 in human B cells, and how does IRF5 influence the ability of B cells to produce the destructive autoantibodies that are the hallmark of lupus? 

What this study means for people with lupus: Results from this study will determine how IRF5 contributes to lupus-related B cell dysfunction. A greater understanding of the role of this protein can provide new targets for treatment.

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