U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Discovery Provides Insight into Immunity

Researchers from the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Molecular Biology have determined the crystal structure of the RAG1-RAG2 protein complex, which initiates DNA rearrangement to generate millions of antibodies and T-cell receptors that defend against infection. The structure allows scientists to analyze more than 60 human mutations that lead to immune deficiencies, laying the groundwork for understanding whether and how variations in RAG1 and RAG2 genes affect the diversity of antibodies in each person and the implications for diseases.

The finding is the result of a ten-year collaboration between the groups of Drs. Martin Gellert and Wei Yang and innovative work of three generations of postdoctoral fellows.

The study published in Nature.

(NIDDK authors: M.S. Kim, M. Lapkouski, W. Yang, and M. Gellert, Nature 10:1038.)