Leading the way to a cure


Receptor Editing in SLE

Prak, Eline Luning, MD, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

In people with lupus, defective B lymphocytes inappropriately target the body’s own tissue instead of foreign invaders.  However, the specific nature of B lymphocyte defects differs among individuals with lupus. 

Dr. Prak and her team will study a candidate biomarker  for B lymphocyte abnormalities in lupus called recombining sequence (RS) rearrangement. Recombining sequence  rearrangements do not produce functional antibodies,  but mark B cells that have undergone multiple light chain  rearrangement attempts. These rearrangements can modify  or edit the antibody and convert it from a self-reactive to a non-self reactive antibody. Defects in this process may  contribute to the production of autoimmune B lymphocytes. 

By studying this marker, Dr. Prak hopes to determine whether levels of RS rearrangement are abnormal in patients with lupus and, if they are, whether the level can be used to determine at which stage of B cell maturation self-tolerance is lost. 

What this study means for people with lupus: If successful, a test for the biomarker could be used to monitor and improve B cell targeted therapies for  individuals with lupus.

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