Biology is full of complex, yet efficient, systems. Signaling pathways, for example, have multiple components that often need to be specifically arranged in order to function. As evolution favors efficiency, cells have often adopted components of an already established signaling pathway for a new purpose rather than creating new pathways from scratch. Researchers from Madrid … Continue reading The Surprising Similarities between Cilia and Immune Synapse Signaling
The brain has long been viewed as being very unique. It’s special. It’s what sets humans apart from other mammals and what has allowed us to imagine, design, create, and build the world that we live in today. On a biological level, the brain has similarly been viewed as being quite special. Unlike most organs, … Continue reading Enemy Infiltration of the Blood-Brain Barrier
If you’ve ever watched a medical drama, chances are that you’ve seen an episode centered around an organ transplant. These transplants are high risk and important - someone may need a new heart, lung, or liver to survive. The surgeries themselves are inherently dangerous - and that is before you account for the risk of … Continue reading Objection (not) Sustained: Macrophages Prevent Transplant Rejection
Bacteria are virtually everywhere—on bus seats, on our hands, and even inside of our gut—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These bacteria are part of the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in or on an environment (such as the human body). The microbiome is thought to influence many aspects of human health, … Continue reading What’s gut got to do with it? How the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy
Whether you or someone you know has suffered from them, many will undoubtedly recognize the puffy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, hives, and difficulty breathing that are often triggered during an allergic reaction. The irritants that cause most allergies are generally quickly identifiable, as responses to them are generated rapidly after exposure. However, some allergic reactions … Continue reading Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergies: a surprising cause of idiopathic anaphylaxis
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.