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TALL-1 and its Receptor BCMA: Targets for Autoimmune Diseases

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Tech ID: 02-01

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered that TALL-1, a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF), plays an important role in the modulation of immune responses by costimulating B lymphocyte proliferation. TALL-1 has been crystallized and its 3D structure resolved. In addition, the investigators have isolated a receptor at the surface of B lymphocytes, B cell maturation protein (BCMA), that specifically binds to TALL-1. Various TALL- induced genes have also been identified. Therefore, BCMA, the 3D structure of TALL-1and TALL-1-induced genes can constitute several target routes for the development of treatments against autoimmune diseases.


Potential Applications
Therapy for inflammatory and immune-related diseases.


Advantages of Invention
Novel extracellular targets


State of Development
National Jewish Health scientists have demonstrated the following:

  • TALL-1 is expressed specifically in monocytes and macrophages

  • TALL-1 is down regulated by mytogens

  • BCMA specifically binds to TALL-1 and activates NF kappaB through a TRAF5/TRAF-6 pathway

  • The 3D structure of the TALL-1 monomer by crystallography

  • 60 TALL-1 monomers can form a virus like structure in physiological conditions

  • The TALL-1 region critical for the formation of this virus-like structure has been identified

  • Deletion of such region disrupts the virus like assembly but does not affect the binding to BCMA and the NF-kappaB activation

  • Several genes have been identified and shown to be induced by TALL-1 and NF-kappaB dependent


Further R&D Required
The investigators have created a Fc-BCMA mutant that has increased avidity and specificity to B lymphocytes. This is currently being tested in mice models of autoimmune diseases.




Patent Status - U.S. Patents #6,475,987, #7,825,089 and #7,994,115, other U.S. and foreign patents pending covering TALL-1 and its 3D structure, BCMA and homologues, and methods of use. Published U.S. Patent Application #20070015695 and published International Patent Application #WO2003/35846.


Hong-Bing Shu, PhD, Gongyi Zhang, PhD


Licensing Potential
Available for licensing in some fields of use.


For Further Information, Contact:
Emmanuel Hilaire, PhD
Technology Transfer Office
National Jewish Health
1400 Jackson Street, Room M206b
Denver, CO 80206
Voice: 303.398.1262
Fax: 303.270.2352