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Medical School scientist discovers new class of human proteins that fight bacterial infection

Newly discovered proteins secreted by human mucous membranes and skin are potent bacteriocidal agents. This discovery may have application in treating patients with immune deficiencies.

In the March 3, 2006 issue of the prestigious medical journal Journal of Biological Chemistry, an Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest team of scientists, led by Dr. Roman Dziarski published the first account of a previously unknown class of antibacterial proteins secreted by human tissues. Four proteins, called peptidoglycan recognition proteins or PGLYRP 1-4, have been found in skin, eyes, salivary glands, throat, tongue, esophagus, stomach and intestine of humans.

“We believe that these proteins open up a whole new area of research on so-called “innate immunity”, the ability of cells and tissues to fight off infection without the help of immune cells. In fact, future research on how to stimulate cells to over produce these proteins or ways to use them as medicines may help in treating patients with compromised immune systems like those seen in HIV/AIDS cases.” said Dziarski, the lead investigator.

Director and Assistant Dean of the IU School of Medicine--Northwest, Dr. Patrick Bankston states, “We are very proud of Dr. Dziarski’s and his collaborator’s discovery. His National Institute of Health supported research has been very fruitful and could eventually lead to commercial production of important medicines. Dr. Dziarski’s work represents the kinds of discoveries we need more of in northwest Indiana as part of any Lifesciences or Biotechnology Economic Development efforts here. Our medical school branch will devote itself to be the focus of such efforts.”

Dr. Dziarski’s collaborators include Dr. Xiaofeng Lu, Dr. Minhui Wang, Dr. Jin Qi, Dr. Haitao Wang, Dr. Xinna Li, and Dr. Dipika Gupta.



Media Contact:

Michelle Searer

Roman Dziarski, Ph.D.
IU School of Medicine – Northwest

Patrick Bankston, Ph.D.
IU School of Medicine – Northwest

Dziarski-Gupta research group: front row (left to right): Dipika Gupta, Jin Qi, Xinna Li, Minhui Wang; back row (left to right): Shiyong Wang, Xiaofeng Lu, Roman Dziarski, Li-Hui Liu
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