Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

These Cells Are Fishy, But That’s A Good Thing

09.09.2010
Scientists from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified dendritic antigen-presenting cells in zebrafish, opening the possibility that the tiny fish could become a new model for studying the complexities of the human immune system.

The study, reported in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was headed by David Traver, an associate professor in UCSD’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, with colleagues in UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences and at the Brazilian National Cancer Institute.

Dendritic cells (DCs) form a crucial link between the innate and adaptive immune systems in mammals. Innate immunity is present in all organisms, providing immediate but short-lived and relatively non-specific defense against infection. Adaptive immunity is evolutionarily younger and more complex. It produces long-lasting protection against specific pathogens after initial exposure. Mammalian DCs act as sentries that bridge the innate and adaptive systems, confronting and engulfing newly discovered pathogens, then recruiting and activating antigen-specific T lymphocytes.

While DCs and the adaptive response have been well-documented in mammals, it was not clear whether these cells existed in non-mammalian vertebrates. Scientists knew that zebrafish – an increasingly popular animal model – exhibited many of the cellular elements of the adaptive system, including T and B lymphocytes, but no one had documented the presence of dendritic cells.

Traver and colleagues inventoried hematopoietic cells that could engulf labeled bacteria, looking for cells that appeared and behaved like mammalian DCs. They found multiple suspects, but finally zeroed in on one rare cell type that appears to fit all of the criteria for being a dendritic cell.

“All signs point to these cells being the fish version of dendritic cells,” said Traver. “They have all of the major characteristics.”

The discovery of DCs in zebrafish provides researchers with another model for investigating the mammalian immune system, particular with regard to humans. “The cool thing is that the more we learn, the more we realize that our immune systems are highly conserved,” said Traver. “Of course, there are differences. These differences, however, are variations on a theme, with the major themes of immune cell function being quite similar. Likewise, there are differences and variations in the dendritic cells of mice compared to humans, but the basics are the same.”

Zebrafish do offer some practical research advantages over other models.

First, the fish are translucent. “You can track individual cells and systems directly in the whole animal,” said Traver. “Very little is known about the initial immune response in mammals because we can’t see it happening. In these fish, we can visualize what happens in real time.”

Second, zebrafish are easy to handle and reproduce rapidly, making it easier to engineer and study mutations. “We can quickly grow generations of fish, letting the genetics tell us what’s important,” Traver said.

Co-authors with Traver are Geanncarlo Lugo-Villarino, Keir M. Balla and David L. Stachura of the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, UC San Diego and Miriam B.F. Werneck of the Division of Cellular Biology, Brazilian National Cancer Institute.

Scott LaFee | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>