Blood Studies

Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is a polymer that is widespread in biology and has many functions. In particular, it is secreted by activated platelets and accelerates blood clotting.

Recent work by Imaging CoE Associate Investigators, Lakshmi Wijeyewickrema, Lillian Hor and Robert Pike from La Trobe University, together with collaborators from the University of British Columbia, has shown that polyP has an effect in the modulation of proteins involved in the complement system. The complement system orchestrates and connects various responses during inflammatory reactions. Its activities rely on a delicate balance between activator and inhibitor signals of sequential enzymatic reactions that result in eliminating potential danger from the human body.

Lakshmi tells us that the insufficient, excessive, or poorly controlled complement activation can tip the balance between health and disease and lead to self-attack of our own cells.

“The novel finding that polyP can play a role in the mechanisms that shape the inflammatory response and its resolution provides further insight into the role of complement in pathological processes and in exploiting complement targets for therapeutic modulation,” she says.

You can read the paper online:

Polyphosphate is a novel cofactor for regulation of complement by the serpin, C1-inhibitor.

Wijeyewickrema LC, Lameignere E, Hor L, Duncan RC, Shiba T, Travers RJ, Kapopara PR, Lei V, Smith SA, Kim H, Morrissey JH, Pike RN, Conway EM.

Blood. 2016 Jun 23. pii: blood-2016-02-699561. [Epub ahead of print]