Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cross-Country Runabouts - Immune Cells on the Move

16.11.2009
In order to effectively fight pathogens, even at remote areas of the human body, immune cells have to move quickly and in a flexible manner.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, have now deciphered the mechanism that illustrates how these mobile cells move on diverse surfaces.

"Similar to a car, these cells have an engine, a clutch and wheels which provide the necessary friction," explains Michael Sixt, a research group leader at the MPI of Biochemistry. The results, which were developed in cooperation with colleagues from the MPI for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany, have now been published in Nature Cell Biology.

White blood cells, also called leukocytes or immune cells, fight infections in the human body in many different ways. As defence cells, they are able to invade infected tissues, detect and eliminate pathogens. Also foreign structures and wreckage of the body's own cells are disposed with their help. To cope with that task, they move a hundred fold faster than other cell types. Thereby, immune cells follow certain attractants which are released by the body's own cells or the pathogens.

Energy Transfer on a Molecular Level
Cells have to generate the necessary energy from the inside in order to move forward. This task is carried out by the cytoskeleton, a network of proteins which stretches through the cell's complete interior. It can expand and form finger-like extensions and retract them likewise.

However, this deformation is not enough to make a cell move. "Similar to a car, the energy has to be transferred on the street," illuminates Dr. Sixt. "We need a clutch and wheels." For this purpose, every cell carries special cell anchors on their surface: the integrins. These proteins span the envelope of the cells and are directly connected to the cell's cytoskeleton. On the outside, these anchors can stick to other cells and tissues and thus, form a connection to the outside world. "The connection between the cytoskeleton and the integrin matches the clutch," says Dr. Sixt, "the connection between the integrin and the outside world corresponds to the grasp of the wheels."

Immune Cells are Cross-Country
In doing so, immune cells are not rigid and inflexible. According to the scientists, they are able to adjust to every possible underground. "Our analysis has shown that leukocytes always move with the same speed - no matter whether they migrate over a slippery or rough substrate," Dr. Sixt points out. That is possible due to the tight interaction between motor, clutch and wheels. When the cell's anchors do not grip properly, the cell increases the speed of its engine - the cytoskeleton deforms faster. Thus, the speed of the cell stays the same. Leukocytes are also able to overcome locally occurring unevenness. Should the immune cell move with one half over slippery and with the other on rough ground, the cytoskeleton adjusts locally - similar to a differential gear. "Thus, the direction of movement is defined only by the attractant," explains the physician. "And this attractant is just as little keeping with tissue frontiers and unevenness like the leukocyte."

Original Publication:

J. Renkawitz, K. Schumann, M. Weber, T. Lämmermann, H. Pflicke, M. Piel, J. Polleux, J. P. Spatz, M. Sixt: Adaptive force transmission in amoeboid cell migration. Nature Cell Biology, November 15, 2009.

Contact:

Dr. Michael Sixt
Leukocyte Migration
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
sixt@biochem.mpg.de
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
An Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Phone ++49/89-8578-2824
E-mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de

Anja Konschak | idw
Further information:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/sixt/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>