The cells of the adaptive immune system attack foreign pathogens by producing proteins, such as antibodies, that use a lock-and-key mechanism to recognize pathogenic antigens, or molecules that can elicit an immune response (Figure 1). In order to defend our bodies against the millions of different pathogens that could harm us, the adaptive immune system … Continue reading Somatic Recombination
Head-to-head interactions between antibodies make a better anti-malarial antibody response.
Our body can remember specific pathogens and other foreign substances (antigens) years after the first encounter. B cells, the type of lymphocytes that produce antibodies, are one of the key players for the establishment of this long-term memory. Upon activation, B cells proliferate and give rise to antibody-secreting plasma cells (PCs) or memory B cells … Continue reading The regulatory role of IL-9/IL-9R signaling in memory B cell response
Many of us may know someone who has taken allergy shots. These shots work on the concept of tolerance—that small doses of an antigen in the context of no inflammation or illness leads to the body learning that antigen is safe. When the body is exposed to that antigen again, no inflammation happens because the … Continue reading Tolerance-inducing therapies: A how-to guide for vaccinating against autoimmunity
Thousands of skilled assassins are currently moving through your body. Natural Killer cells, or NK cells, are constantly on the watch, checking up on cells to make sure they are healthy and have not gone rogue. If a cell is healthy, the NK cell passes it by. But if it is infected or cancerous, the … Continue reading NK Cell Killing: How many lytic granules does it take?
Mitochondrial proteins fine-tune CD8+ T cell metabolism to limit immune damage during tuberculosis response.
Adaptive immune cells, like T cells, play a critical role in protecting our bodies against invading pathogens, a task that relies upon their ability to recognize pathogens as foreign, or ‘non-self’. This begs the question, though, of how adaptive immune cells distinguish between self and non-self. How is it that T cells know to attack … Continue reading Positive and Negative Selection of T Cells
Much of current immunology research in is founded on enormous data sets, complex interactions, and computer modeling - tackling the microbiome or the origins of autoimmune disease, for example. Fundamental discoveries can seem few and far between amidst Big Data (data sets of size and complexity that computers are required for analysis, ‘-omics (proteomics, genomics, … Continue reading Location Location Location – T cell receptor placement makes or breaks immune response speed!
T cell receptors are required for the activation, regulation, and function of T cells. TCRs are generated by the random joining of gene segments in the TCR gene loci. TCR assembly occurs through a process called V(D)J recombination, so named for the gene segments joined to make the β–chain of the TCR and the heavy … Continue reading How-to make: a T cell receptor (the simpler version)
The history of medicine and epidemiology is full of “bad bug” stories---bacteria have a reputation for causing many horrible diseases like cholera and tuberculosis. More recently, however, research efforts like the Human Microbiome Project have turned to investigating the role that “ good bacteria” plays in everyday health. The human microbiome is complex, and consists … Continue reading When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans