Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Imaging Studies Open a Window on How Effective Antibodies Are Formed

26.09.2014

Sometimes, in order to understand what’s happening in the immune system, you just have to watch it. By imaging the immune response, researchers have observed how two types of immune cells, T and B cells, interact with one another during a critical period following infection in order to prepare the best antibodies and establish long-lasting protection.

Their surprising finding: T cells and B cells form numerous short-term contacts, each lasting no more than a few minutes, in a dynamic process that is very different from how T cells interact with other cell types. The results were recently published in Science.


shulman BTcells from Newswise on Vimeo.

Connecting. A time-lapse movie shows T cells (red) and B cells (blue) making contact (green) within a mouse germinal center. Interaction between the two types of cells drives the process of diversification, in which B cells are selected based on the effectiveness of the antibodies they produce.

The action takes place in so-called germinal centers, tiny structures within the body’s lymphatic system where B cells learn to make antibodies against specific microbes. Within these sites B cells undergo a process known as diversification in which they experience rapid mutations in the genes that encode antibodies. Only the best B cells — those with the highest “affinities” — are selected to leave the germinal centers and become antibody-secreting cells.

“In the germinal centers, T cells discern between B cells that are making effective antibodies and those that are not — it is because of their scrutiny that the immune system learns to take the correct action to fight off infection,” says study author Ziv Shulman, a postdoc in Michel C. Nussenzweig’s Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. “But nobody had ever observed directly and described the dynamics of this process and little is known about how T cells make their determination.”

Nussenzweig, who is Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor, along with Shulman, and their colleagues, developed a system in which they could observe the germinal centers directly in live mice under physiological conditions, tagging T cells and B cells with separate fluorescent proteins that allowed them to track the movements of the cells in real time. They also developed an algorithm that could process the resulting videos and keep precise track of the quantity of contacts between the two cell types as well as the duration of each contact.

They found that the amount of antigen being picked up by B cells with high affinity antibodies and presented to T cells dictates the duration of interaction between the cells. In these contacts, the B cells are instructed either to differentiate into antibody secreting cells or to undergo further mutation.

To test whether the cells were indeed communicating with one another, the researchers also visualized the amount of free calcium within the cells. They found an increase in intracellular calcium, an indicator of signaling events triggered during the T and B cells interactions. Furthermore, the dynamics of the calcium signaling they observed suggests that not only are T cells telling B cells what to do, but that the flow of information is bi-directional: T cells are also learning from B cells.

“The transient interactional dynamics allow T cells to continuously seek and find B cells that are presenting high levels of antigen and provide them with preferential help, while still permitting competing B cells to mutate and develop,” Shulman says. “It’s an interactive process, with B cells being directed by T cells and T cells learning from their interactions with B cells.”

The research team says that a better understanding of the processes that take place in germinal centers could lead to new ways to manipulate them in order to more effectively harness the body’s immune system to develop vaccines and fight a variety of diseases.

Contact Information

Zach Veilleux
newswire@rockefeller.edu
212-327-8982

Zach Veilleux | newswise

Further reports about: Antibodies B cells Nussenzweig T cells action cell types immune immune system interactions

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

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...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

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...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

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...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>