Targeting mTORC2 for lupus treatment
People with lupus and mouse models of lupus have abnormally high levels of mTORC2 — a signaling molecule that stimulates immune activity by promoting antibody production and destabilizing the regulatory controls that normally keep the immune system in check. Dr, Zeng discovered that when mTORC2 is eliminated from the mouse models, their immune systems calm down and their lupus symptoms improve. The Lupus Innovation Award will allow Dr. Zeng to now figure out how mTORC2 contributes to lupus as well as to search for a molecule that can inhibit its activity in animal models and people to provide a more targeted treatment that might avoid the broad immunosuppressive effects of the current therapies.
What this study means for people with lupus
Dr. Zeng has found a metabolic signaling molecule called mTORC2 that is present at elevated levels in mouse models of lupus; perhaps a molecule that blocks it could point to a promising treatment.