Grégoire Lauvau, Ph.D.One way the immune system protects the body against microbes like bacteria and viruses is with memory CD8+ T cells, so named because they can “remember” the invading organisms. If someone is later infected by that same microbe, memory CD8+ T cells recognize the invaders and multiply rapidly, forming an army of cytotoxic T cells to hunt down and destroy the microbes and the cells they’ve infected. This highly specific immune response forms the basis for most vaccines—but it can take several weeks for them to prime the immune system to respond to “real” infections.
This new study shows that the immune system has another, faster method for responding to infections that could be exploited to produce faster-acting vaccines.
“Our research has revealed that pathogen-specific memory CD8+ T cells are reactivated even before they recognize the antigen they previously encountered,” said study leader Grégoire Lauvau, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Einstein. (Antigens are protein fragments of microbes that trigger an immune response.)
Dr. Lauvau and his colleagues found that this fast-acting immune response is orchestrated by a type of white cell called inflammatory monocytes. After the immune system detects an infection, it recruits monocytes to the affected tissues, where they release inflammatory signals called cytokines. Those inflammatory signals not only activate every memory CD8+ T cell that has previously encountered a pathogen but also stimulate the activation of natural killer cells, another type of white blood cell.
The result is a protective immunologic environment capable of defending against microbes of any kind—viruses, bacteria or parasites. Only later do memory CD8+ T cells specific for that microbe’s antigen begin to multiply, enabling the immune system to launch its focused attack on that particular microbe.
“We’re not saying that recognizing the antigen is unimportant in the immune response,” says Dr. Lauvau. “You do need the antigen later on, to cause memory CD8+ T cells to multiply and to get full pathogen-specific protection. But it doesn’t seem to be needed during the days immediately following re-infection, when this early form of immunity is operating.”
“It’s too early to apply these findings clinically,” said Dr. Lauvau. “For example, we still need to identify all of the cells and signaling molecules that are involved, and learn how and when the immune system switches from the first phase of protection to the second phase, where you have the antigen. But the important concept to take from this study is that it may be possible to improve vaccines by making this early, generalized immune response persist for a longer time until the later, targeted immune response kicks in.”
The lead author of the paper, titled “Inflammatory monocytes activate memory CD8+ T and innate NK lymphocytes independent of cognate antigen during microbial pathogen invasion” is Saïdi M’Homa Soudja, Ph.D., a postdoc in Dr. Lauvau’s lab. Other contributors are Anne Ruiz, M.Sc., and Julien Marie, Ph.D., at INSERM and Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.
The study was largely supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AI095835), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Einstein funds.About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Einstein’s founding hospital, and five other hospital systems in the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Brooklyn, Einstein runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.
Kim Newman | Newswise Science News
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences
24.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2018 | Trade Fair News