Working model for the role of exosomes in immune responses.
After the uptake of incoming pathogens in the periphery, immature or maturing dendritic cells (green) generate peptide-MHC complexes. Some of these complexes could be secreted on exosomes, and locally sensitize other dendritic cells (blue) that have not encountered the pathogen directly. As a result of the effects of inflammation, all of these dendritic cells migrate out of the tissue towards the draining lymph nodes. Although maturing dendritic cells seem to secrete fewer exosomes than immature cells, an exchange of exosomes inside the lymph nodes between newly arrived (and not fully mature) and resident dendritic cells could take place also. Therefore, exosome production would increase the number of dendritic cells that bear the revelant peptide-MHC complexes, and thereby amplify the magnitude of immune responses. In the absence of inflammation, spontaneous migration of exosome-bearing dendritic cells could contribute to tolerance induction.
In this picture a mature dendritic cell (the cell on the right with dendrites) is moving towards a T lymphocyte (little rounded cell). The contact between a mature dendritic cell and a T lymphocytes is the initial step of an immune response.
Exosomes are minute, natural membrane vesicles secreted by various types of cells of the immune system. They are of enormous interest to oncologists, who are now using them in clinical trials as tumor-antigen bearers to trigger tumor rejection by the body.
On the basis of studies in vitro and in mice, INSERM doctors and research scientists at the Institut Curie proposed a novel mode of functioning of exosomes in the December 2002 issue of Nature Immunology. It seems that exosomes can indirectly stimulate the immune system. When they are secreted by dendritic cells (the immune system’s "sentries"), they are captured by other dendritic cells, which subsequently bring about the triggering of the immune response. It is as if one of the functions of the exosomes is to transfer their specific membrane-borne antigens to other dendritic cells, thus multiplying the number of "sentries" alerted and raising the defense potential of the immune system. If this mechanism is confirmed, it would partly explain how exosomes participate in tumor rejection in vivo.
These studies will undoubtedly lead to improvements in the use of antigen-bearing exosomes in cancer immunotherapy.
Catherine Goupillon | Institut Curie
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22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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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!
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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...
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