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)

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

Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge

Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a significant human health threat in the last 5 years. Zika virus is associated with (and may cause) microencephaly and neurological deficits in infants, with unknown long-term consequences for adults. In late 2015 there was a spike in ZIKV infections in South America. Initially, the surge was blamed on … Continue reading Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge