The Golden Star Tunicate: A Golden Star of Immunology Research

The hematopoietic system is responsible for the formation of all blood cell types from hematopoietic stem cells (immature cells that are able to mature into any type of blood cell).  This is a key process for the immune system because it produces white blood cells (along with red blood cells and platelets). With this in … Continue reading The Golden Star Tunicate: A Golden Star of Immunology Research

The Mighty, Mighty Microbiome

The microbiome is a group of microorganisms living in a particular environment (for example, the human gut).  These microorganisms are not just limited to bacteria: viruses, fungi, and archaea can also be present. Microbiomes are not limited to humans or even to mammals--insects and plants have microbiomes that are crucial for their health.  Microbiomes are … Continue reading The Mighty, Mighty Microbiome

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!

The diversity of immunoglobulins

Immunoglobulins (Igs), commonly known as antibodies, are Y-shaped proteins that are key players in the adaptive immune system.  These proteins are made to bind to specific antigens, such as those found on bacteria and other foreign substances.  Immunoglobulins generally consist of two heavy chains and two light chains that are joined by disulfide bonds.  Both … Continue reading The diversity of immunoglobulins