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Archive - May 7, 2011

Date

Personalized Medicine 4.0 Conference: Focus on Pharmacogenomics & Consumer Genetic Testing

This year’s Personalized Medicine Conference (4.0) will be held Thursday, May 26 from 8 am to 7 pm at the South San Francisco Conference Center on the campus of San Francisco State University. This fourth annual conference on personalized medicine focuses on two exciting areas – pharmacogenomics (the right drug, at the right dose, for the right patient, at the right time) and the controversial topic of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, examining the science, the business, and the social dimensions of each. Personalized Medicine 4.0 is a one-day conference and networking opportunity for health and industry professionals, educators, and scientists. Learn how the new genomic medicine will affect your work and your life. Seating is limited. Register now at http://personalizedmedicine.sfsu.edu. For additional information or to sponsor this event, please e-mail dnamed@sfsu.edu or call Arlene Essex at 415-405-4107. Advance registration is $495 through 5/16. Save $100 – Early registration is $395 ending soon! Contact us for academic rates.

Temperature Shifts Prime Immune Response

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and the Novartis Research Foundation have found a temperature-sensing protein within immune cells that, when tripped, allows calcium to pour in and activate an immune response. This process can occur as temperature rises, such as during a fever, or when it falls—such as when immune cells are "called" from the body's warm interior to a site of injury on cooler skin. The study, published online on April 17, 2011 in Nature Chemical Biology, is the first to find such a sensor in immune cells—specifically, in the T lymphocytes that play a central role in activation of killer immune cells. The protein, STIM1, previously known as an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium sensor, had been thought to be important in immune function, and now the scientists show it is also a temperature sensor. "Temperature has a profound effect on all biological processes including immune responses, but surprisingly little is known about molecules in immune cells that sense temperature shifts," said the study's principal investigator, Scripps Research Professor Ardem Patapoutian. "Here we show that STIM1 senses temperature and has a profound impact on immune cells." This is the second family of thermosensation molecules that the Patapoutian laboratory has uncovered. The team has isolated and characterized three of six members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels—the so-called thermoTRPs. "These proteins translate temperature, which is a physical stimulus, into a chemical signal—ions flowing into cells," said Dr. Patapoutian. "ThermoTRPs mainly function in specialized sensory neurons that relay environmental temperature information to the brain." In this study, the researchers turned to immune cells to look for temperature sensors.