Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Emory scientists find marker for long-term immunity

21.11.2003


Scientists at the Emory Vaccine Center and The Scripps Research Institute have found a way to identify which of the T cells generated after a viral infection can persist and confer protective immunity. Because these long-lived cells protect against reinfection by "remembering" the prior pathogen, they are called memory T cells. This discovery about the specific mechanisms of long-term immunity could help scientists develop more effective vaccines against challenging infections.



The research, by Susan M. Kaech, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine, and principal investigator Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Eminent Scholar, was published online November 16 and will be printed in the December issue of Nature Immunology. Other members of the research team were E. John Wherry and Bogumila T. Konieczny of Emory University School of Medicine, and Joyce T. Tan and Charles D. Surh of The Scripps Research Institute.

During an acute viral infection, CD4 and CD8 T cells activated by specific viral antigens dramatically expand in number and become effector T cells. These cells kill the virus-infected cells and also produce cytokines. Most effector cells die within a few weeks, after their initial job is complete. Only about 5 to 10 percent survive to become long-term memory cells, which are capable of mounting a strong and rapid immune response when they come into contact with the original virus, even years later. Scientists have not clearly understood the mechanisms of memory cell production, and a major unanswered question has been how to distinguish the small fraction of cells likely to survive in long-term memory.


This team of investigators found that expression of the interleukin 7 (IL-7) receptor, which binds the cytokine IL-7 and is required for T cell survival, is increased in a small subset of CD8 T cells generated during an acute infection, and that expression of this receptor marks those that will survive to become long-lived memory CD8 T cells.

In experiments with mice, the Emory scientists found that at the peak of the CD8 T cell immune response during an acute viral infection a small subset of effector cells had a higher expression of the IL-7 receptor, and they hypothesized that these cells would be the ones to survive as memory cells. They transferred a group of cells with and without this distinguishing characteristic into mice that were unexposed to virus, and found that in fact the cells expressing IL-7 receptor survived and differentiated into long-lived memory cells. They also found that IL-7 signals were necessary for the survival of these cells.

"We can consider the IL-7 receptor a marker of ’cellular fitness’ for long-term survival and functionality," says Dr. Kaech. "This new knowledge should help us in assessing and predicting the number and quality of memory T cells that will be generated after infection or immunization. It also could lead to the identification of additional markers of memory cells and provide a more comprehensive picture of memory cell development."

"As scientists struggle to create long-term, effective vaccines for difficult diseases, they need a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of long-term memory," says Dr. Ahmed. "Understanding immune memory is the necessary basis for developing any type of effective vaccine. In addition, these findings could help in designing immunotherapies to control chronic viral infections and cancer."

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.emory.edu/

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

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...

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

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>