Scientists have found a new task managed by the antibody that's the workhorse of the human immune system: Inside cells, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) helps bring together the phagosomes that corral invading pathogens and the potent lysosomes that eventually kill off the germs.
The research, by Axel Nohturfft at Harvard University and colleagues at Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The IgG class of antibodies is a critical part of the human immune system, guarding us against infection by an endless array of microorganisms," says Nohturfft, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Our findings add yet another immunological task to the list of those handled by IgG."
While just one of several broad classes of human antibodies, IgG is by far the most important -- so much so that patients incapable of making their own antibodies to fight off infections are routinely treated with IgG alone. Broadly speaking, the immunological powerhouse manages the processes by which cells isolate and then kill invading microbes, viruses, and other antigens.
In a process called phagocytosis, intruding germs are first swallowed up by amoeba-like white blood cells and stored in membrane pouches called phagosomes. These compartments then fuse with lysosomes, toxic cellular reservoirs that kill and degrade the sequestered antigens by flooding the phagosomes with acid and destructive proteins.
IgG, Nohturfft and his colleagues report, plays a key role in this merger of phagosomes and lysosomes into the so-called phagolysosomes that finally do in most invading microbes. Specifically, the antibody prompts phagosomes and lysosomes to dock and bind to each other with actin filaments, the first step in the unification of the two vesicles.
Among the antibody's other known roles, Nohturfft's group has now shown that IgG serves to accelerate the creation of phagolysosomes. Under physiological conditions, the scientists found that latex beads coated with IgG formed phagolysosomes in just a third the time it took the cellular machinery to process uncoated beads, 15 minutes versus 45 minutes.
"This process is central to the human immune response," Nohturfft says. "But some of the most destructive microbial pathogens, such as those responsible for tuberculosis and salmonellosis, are able to hijack cells and use them as a breeding ground precisely because they block the merger of phagosomes and lysosomes. It had long been known that coating these germs with IgG can restore their destruction and our recent results reveal a new branch of this IgG-led counterattack."
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy