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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

A research team at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City has identified two genes that may be crucial to the production of the immune system cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). The discovery fills in an important "missing link" in a biochemical pathway that's long been tied to disorders ranging from lupus and Type 1 diabetes, to cancer and AIDS, according to the scientists.

During this week's GEN podcast, Dr. Xiaoging Ma, the study's senior researcher, talks about the two genes in question and how they influence IL-10 production. He explains the importance of his research group's finding and discusses the role IL-10 roles plays in health and disease.

Previous studies had shown that CD36, which is a protein receptor lying on the surface of macrophages, helped trigger IL-10 production whenever apoptotic cells were present. But his group went a step further and asked "Which signals lead to IL-10 production from CD36 present at the cell surface?" Dr. Ma describes the approach his team took to answer this question and tells how this work led to the identification of the Pbx-1 and Prep-1 genes. Dr. Ma provides examples of potential ways to use his team's findings to reveal new insights on how aberrant IL-10 expression contributes to disease and lays out the steps planned for his group's further research on IL-10.

Listen to the podcast then return to the blog to give us your thoughts on the following question:

Based on the interview with Dr. Ma, how do you believe that his group's finding might lead to new insights on how aberrant IL-10 expression contributes to disease?

Or, if you prefer, post your own topic on the biotech industry subject of your choice. Please share your opinions and observations.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in Pediatrics
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Director, Host Defenses Curriculum

Research Focus:
Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a heterodimeric, proinflammatory cytokine produced by phagocytic cells and plays a critical role in the activation and function of antigen-presenting cells and effector lymphocytes during microbial infection. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a homodimeric cytokine produced mainly by monocytes/macrophages, activated T and B lymphocytes. IL-10 has potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities on myeloid cell functions while it also exerts immune stimulatory effects on B cells for proliferation, differentiation and antibody production. It is a pivotal homeostatic regulator of immune reactivity. The production of IL-12 and IL-10 by phagocytic and antigen-presenting cells is regulated in opposite manners during innate and adaptive immune responses. The understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling the gene expression of IL-12 and IL-10 in interactions between pathogens and the immune system is essential to efforts to develop therapeutic strategies for infectious, malignant and autoimmune diseases. We are currently investigating in the following areas:

I. Molecular mechanisms of pathogen/antigen-mediated regulation of IL-12 and IL-10 gene expression in macrophages and dendritic cells.
II. Molecular mechanisms of the regulation of IL-12 and IL-10 gene expression during phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by macrophages and dendritic cells.
III. Molecular basis of the antitumor effect and immunity conferred by IL-12 and Interferon Regulatory Factors in mouse mammary tumor and T cell lymphoma models.

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