A key molecule involved in suppressing the survival and selection of autoreactive B cells that can attack the body's own cells is needed to prevent the development of autoimmunity, according to a study in mice (Misra RS et al. J Exp Med. 2010;207:1775-1789).
Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York and collaborators from across the United States and China discovered that the protein subunit G alpha q (Gaq) is part of a signaling pathway that determines the fate of autoreactive B cells and prevents them from building up and mistakenly attacking the body's own tissues. They showed that in mice genetically modified to lack Gaq, these harmful B cells survive and cause rapid development of arthritis and other manifestations of autoimmune disease.
Friedrich MJ. Autoimmunity and Arthritis. JAMA. 2010;304(17):1888. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1517