Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Frog's immune system is key in fight against killer virus

Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered how changes to a frog's immune system may be the key to beating a viral infection which is devastating frog populations across the UK.

Communities of common frogs (Rana temporaria) are being struck down by a foreign virus which is estimated to be killing tens of thousands of frogs in the UK each year. When it strikes garden ponds, the surrounding lawn becomes strewn with dead frogs, some with skin ulcers so severe they reduce limbs to stumps, others with internal bleeding. The virus, called Ranavirus, has invaded the home counties around London, and is now spreading north and west.

Writing in the journal PLoS One, Dr Amber Teacher describes how the frogs' immune system has responded to the virus. Working with her fellow scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and experts at the Institute of Zoology, she studied ponds where Ranavirus deaths are occurring year after year, and consistently found changes to a gene called the MHC, which codes for a major part of the frog's immune system.

Dr Teacher explains: "It seems, as Darwin would have predicted, that the plucky surviving frogs have passed on to their descendants an immune system which is better tuned to the new threat."

Teacher also found that the frogs' immune systems are simpler than many other animals, including humans, who have several MHC genes doing a similar job. She adds: "This discovery has helped identify the point in our evolutionary history when this multiplication of genes occurred. With luck, even the frog's simpler system will be sufficient to win their battle".

It is too early to determine if the adaptation in the frogs' immune response will be enough to save them from the virus. Her colleague Professor Richard Nichols, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences added: "From a scientific point of view we could learn as much about the fight against viruses, whether the frogs succumb or they don't; but from a personal point of view I hope these changes are the first signs that the frogs getting the upper hand over the virus."

Sian Halkyard | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke 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: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>