Yisong Wan, PhD

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

2011 General Immune System Function

Dr. WanNovel research funded by the Lupus Research Institute (LRI), National Institutes of Health, and the University Cancer Research Fund has uncovered how a specific type of cell, “immune-suppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs), might prevent diseases such as lupus, type-1 diabetes and arthritis.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have uncovered how a specific type of cell, “immune-suppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs), might prevent diseases such as lupus, type-1 diabetes and arthritis.   Led by Yisong Wan, PhD, the team showed that the gene called GATA-3 is needed for the Tregs to function properly. When researchers deleted the GATA-3 gene from Tregs in mice, these cells could not suppress the immune system, and an inflammatory autoimmune disorder developed. The study was published online September 15, 2011 in the peer-reviewed journal Immunity.

Tregs are currently being tested as a potential treatment for lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Researchers are also investigating drugs that can boost the activity of Tregs in patients.  Building on his results, Dr. Yisong Wan is now looking at other mechanisms GATA-3 may control, with the goal of finding potential targets agents that might correct underlying flaws involved in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Select Publications

An essential role of the transcription factor GATA-3 for the function of regulatory T cells. Immunity. 2011 Sep 23;35(3):337-48. Epub 2011 Sep 15. Wang Y, Su MA, Wan YY.