DNA graphic

Zhiqiang Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

Oxidized Mitochondrial DNA Employs APEX1 in Neutrophils to Control Lupus

The immune system keeps watch for viral DNA that signals we have an infection. In lupus, immune cells identify DNA from patients’ cells as dangerous. Some of the DNA released by their cells comes from mitochondria, the structures that provide energy for our cells. Dr. Zhang has identified several proteins that may recognize this DNA, including one known as APEX1. In his new study, he will test whether APEX1 detects mitochondrial DNA and spurs the immune system attacks. His results could provide important information for the development of safer and more effective approaches for the prevention and control of lupus without unwanted side effects.


What this study means to people with lupus

The immune system mistakenly attacks lupus patients’ own DNA. Dr. Zhang’s study is testing whether the protein he just discovered, APEX1, is responsible for sounding a distress call that stimulates our defensive cells — an impressive discovery that would allow researchers to develop new ways to prevent this false alarm.

Learn and connect with our community!

because the Lupus Research Alliance board of directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs