Protein kinase CK2 has a key role in killer T cells during infection by Listeria monocytogenes, according to a new study.
The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, suggest that CK2 may be a potential target for new therapeutic approaches to treating infections by this foodborne pathogen.
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It can cause severe illness, and even death, particularly in pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
While listeriosis is relatively rare, it is a major public health concern due to its high mortality rate. In the United States, there are approximately 1600 cases of listeriosis each year, with 260 of those resulting in death.
The vast majority of listeriosis cases are caused by food contamination, and the most common source of contamination is raw or unpasteurized milk.
When a person becomes infected with L. monocytogenes, the bacteria can spread from the gut to the bloodstream and then to other organs, causing a serious and potentially fatal infection.
Despite its serious nature, there are currently no vaccines or treatments available for listeriosis.
In the new study, researchers sought to better understand how the immune system responds to L. monocytogenes infection, in the hopes of identifying new targets for therapy.
They found that protein kinase CK2 plays a key role in the activity of killer T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that is essential for fighting infection.
Specifically, the researchers found that CK2 is necessary for the activation of a key protein called TBK1, which is required for killer T cell function.
They also found that CK2 is required for the production of interferon-gamma, a crucial anti-viral molecule that helps to activate other cells of the immune system.
Importantly, the researchers found that targeting CK2 with a specific inhibitor can protect mice from L. monocytogenes infection.
These findings suggest that CK2 may be a promising target for new therapeutic approaches to treating listeriosis.
While more research is needed to confirm these findings in humans, the study provides a proof-of-concept that targeting CK2 may be a effective way to treat this serious infection.
Listeria monocytogenes is a serious infection that can often cause death. It is a common foodborne pathogen that is able to infect many different types of cells. One of the most important cell types in the fight against this infection are killer T cells. These cells are able to kill infected cells and help clear the infection from the body.
Protein kinase CK2 has recently been found to play a key role in killer T cells during Listeria monocytogenes infection. This kinase is responsible for phosphorylating a number of different proteins that are important for the function of these cells. Without CK2, the killer T cells are not able to function properly and the infection can take hold.
This discovery could lead to new treatments for Listeria monocytogenes infection that target CK2. This kinase could be a promising new target for drugs that could improve the outcome of this serious infection.