Articles

Positive and Negative Selection of T Cells

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

Location Location Location – T cell receptor placement makes or breaks immune response speed!

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!

How-to make: a T cell receptor (the simpler version)

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)

When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans

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

Regulating “self” versus “non-self” – T cell tolerance mechanisms

Central Tolerance Central tolerance refers to the negative selection step in T cell differentiation. It occurs in the thymus, where newly recombined T cell receptors are screened against a bevy of self-antigens and overactive clones are deleted. See Positive and Negative Selection of T Cells. Clonal Deletion - T cells that recombine a TCR with a … Continue reading Regulating “self” versus “non-self” – T cell tolerance mechanisms

Friendly Fire – an introduction to autoimmune disease

 Autoimmunity is a blanket term describing pathologies where the immune system attacks its host body. The typical paradigm is that the immune system protects us from foreign invaders- pathogens looking for a niche to colonize. In autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes our body’s tissues for a target- and harms them. Whether due to a … Continue reading Friendly Fire – an introduction to autoimmune disease

Neutralizing your enemies by eating them?  Just an ordinary day in the life of the immune system!

Phagocytosis is the process of a cell ingesting another cell or particle.  It works by having the phagocytosing cell bind the desired target onto its surface and bringing it inward while it engulfs the target.  This is a relatively simple mechanism that cells such as macrophages of the immune system can use to destroy foreign … Continue reading Neutralizing your enemies by eating them?  Just an ordinary day in the life of the immune system!