Funds of $1.35 million for the study of antibody formation
Antibodies are protein molecules that are produced by the body to fight pathogens. Their formation basically follows the principle of evolution. The best candidates are selected and optimised further in multiple rounds of competition.
Logo of the Human Frontier Science Program
Some aspects of antibody formation will be elucidated more closely by a team of researchers from the USA, England, Australia and Germany. This work will be coordinated by Prof Michael Meyer-Hermann, a systems biologist of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany.
The research project will be funded by US$1.35 million (approximately €1.2 million) from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).
In this collaboration, the scientists aim to better understand the information processing in the germinal centres of lymph nodes. "The so-called B-cells in these centres produce the antibodies that play an important role during infection processes, vaccination and highly targeted therapeutics," says Michael Meyer-Hermann, who directs the Systems Immunology department at the HZI.
He coordinates the research program titled “Cooperation strategy and information processing in and between germinal centre reactions” and will join Prof Michael Dustin of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Dr Gabriel Victora of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Cambridge, USA, and Prof Carola Vinueasa of the Australian National University in Canberra in the effort to decipher the highly complex processes that go on during the production of these defence molecules.
All previous insights into the maturation of antibodies have been derived from experiments in mice. Human germinal centres cannot be studied directly and some of the cells that are involved in these processes cannot be cultured in the laboratory. For this reason, the scientists will study mice that harbour lymph nodes and immune cells of human origin. Working with these "humanised" mice, the scientists hope to gain the first detailed insights into the processes in the human germinal centre reaction.
Carola Vinuesa is an expert on the role of T-cells in germinal centres and Michael Dustin studies the exchange of information between B- and T-cells, whereas Gabriel Victora compares B-cells from different germinal centres. Meyer-Hermann and his coworkers are the link between these three levels of information processing. "Our partners perform the laboratory experiments and we contribute the mathematical models that allow the results to be analysed and combined into an overall picture," says Meyer-Hermann.
The official start of the project is on September 1st and the project is scheduled to take three years. There is something very special about the funding by the Human Frontier Science Program: Only teams from different continents are funded. This is aimed specifically at establishing international cooperation. “The HFSP is not interested in micromanagement of the projects but prefers to trust the consortium that was selected to receive their funds, a strongly motivating attitude,” says Meyer-Hermann.
The insights, which the researchers hope to gain, will be the basis for specific interventions into the immune response to infections. "To be able to support the body's defence against infections, we first need to understand the underlying processes that go on when the antibodies are made," says Meyer-Hermann. He and his colleagues aim to get closer to an understanding of these processes over the next three years.
The "Systems Immunology" department of the HZI investigates the mathematical modelling of immunological processes. The department is associated with the Braunschweig Integrated Centre for Systems Biology (BRICS), a new research centre for Systems Biology that has been established jointly by the HZI and the Technical University Braunschweig.
http://www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/news_events/news/view/article/complete/internatio... - This press release on helmholtz-hzi.de
Dr. Jan Grabowski | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
RNA: a vicious pathway to cancer ?
14.08.2017 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy
28.06.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research