Scientists report that they have identified a cellular mechanism that prevents the immune system from destroying chronic, incurable viral infections such as herpes, hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The research, published in the March issue of Immunity, explains why critical immune cells fail to act against the viral infection and demonstrates a successful intervention that facilitates elimination of the virus. The results open up exciting new avenues for design of future antiviral therapeutics.
Many human viruses are able to evade the immune system during acute infection and establish long-term persistent infections that are extremely difficult to eliminate. Most of the time, proliferation of the virus is balanced by antiviral immunity and the host experiences little to no damage. However, persistent infections with viruses such as HIV or hepatitis lead to life threatening diseases that currently have no cure.
Immune cells called CD8+ T cells are critical for recovery from viral infections and persistent viral infections are associated with a malfunction of these cells that is not well understood. Dr. Kim J. Hasenkrug from the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues investigated persistent infection of mice with Friend virus (FV) to look at the specific mechanisms that contribute to CD8+ T cell dysfunction. The researchers found that although the CD8+ T cells could recognize their appropriate targets they could not destroy them. The key finding was that regulatory CD4+ T cells suppress the normal function of the CD8+ T cells in the persistently infected mice. Importantly, suppressing the activity of the regulatory CD4+ cells could prevent dysfunction of CD8+ T cells.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
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.
A warming planet
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.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy