Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High-speed images show how cells mobilize for immune response

17.04.2003


New high-speed imaging techniques are allowing scientists to show how a single cell mobilizes its resources to activate its immune response, a news research study shows.



Howard R. Petty, Ph.D., professor and biophysicist at the University of Michigan Health System’s Kellogg Eye Center, has dazzled his colleagues with movies of fluorescent-lit calcium waves that pulse through the cell, issuing an intracellular call-to-arms to attack the pathogens within.

He explains that these high-speed images provide a level of detail about cell signaling that simply wasn’t possible just a few years ago.


In the April 15 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Petty provides more detail on cell signaling, depicting what he calls the "molecular machinery" underlying the immune response. He has identified a sequence of amino acids (LTL) that controls the calcium wave pathway and, crucially, the ability of immune cells to destroy targets.

The findings are important because they could eventually lead scientists to design drugs based on the amino acid motif.

"Our clinical goal," explains Petty, "is to characterize the immune cell’s signaling function so that we can interrupt it or somehow intervene when it begins to misfire." The process has implications for treating autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and the eye disorder uveitis.

Through images of phagocytosis, the process by which a cell engulfs and then destroys its target, Petty is able to track the movement of calcium waves as they send signals to key players in the immune response. The "calcium wave" is a stream of calcium ions coming into the cell, which is detected by the fluorescence emission of a calcium-sensing dye.

As a cell membrane begins to surround its target, two calcium waves begin to circulate. When the target is completely surrounded, one wave traveling around the cell’s perimeter splits in two, with the second wave encircling the phagosome or sac-like compartment. This second wave allows the digestive enzymes to enter the phagosome and finally destroy the target.

When Petty introduced a mutation in the gene (FcyRIIA) that controls phagocytosis, he found that the calcium wave simply circled the cell and bypassed the phagosome altogether. As a result, the immune cell could engulf, but could not carry out the destruction of its target. This led him to conclude that the LTL sequence orchestrates the cell signaling process.

The sequence may also have a role in directing other cell activities, for example signaling the endoplasmic reticulum to form a spindle that connects the phagosome and the outer cell membrane. "The spindle seems to act as an extension cord that signals the calcium wave into the phagosome to finish the attack," suggests Petty.

Petty explains that many of these findings are possible thanks to high-speed imaging techniques that enable him to merge knowledge of physics with cell and molecular biology. He uses high sensitivity fluorescence imaging with shutter speeds 600,000 times faster than video frames.

"Before the advent of high-speed imaging, you could not ask many of these questions because we had no way to see the movement of calcium waves," he says. "With conventional imaging you ended up with a blur of calcium." By contrast, Petty’s images resemble the movement of a comet across the night sky.

In the study reported in PNAS, Petty used leucocytes as a model for the process. The amino acid sequence is in the region of the gene FcyRIIA. He is currently studying the same phenomena in the eye, where phagocytosis disposes of the regularly-shed remnants of photoreceptor cells.


The paper, Signal sequence within FcRIIA controls calcium wave propagation patterns: Apparent role in phagolysosome fusion, also appears on the PNAS internet site at www.pnas.org.

Betsy Nisbet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History

nachricht New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>