A new study published as the cover article for the April 2009 issue of The FASEB Journal promises to give physicians new ways to reduce deadly responses to viral infections of the brain and spinal cord. In the report, scientists from Columbia University, NY, detail for the first time the chemical processes that star-shaped nerve cells, called astrocytes, use to handle invading viruses and to summon other immune cells to cause life-threatening inflammation.
"Studies such as this take us one step closer to understanding both the risk and benefit associated with antiviral immune response and may lead to new treatment strategies," said W. Ian Lipkin, the senior researcher involved in the study, who also is the director of Columbia's Center for Infection and Immunity, and led the team that first identified the presence of West Nile Virus in New York in 1999.
In this study, Lipkin and colleagues cultured astrocytes from the brains of newborn mice and exposed the cells to a West Nile virus-like molecule (called Poly I:C), either from outside or inside the brain cell membranes. After various laboratory experiments, the researchers identified the cellular machinery (such as a protein called MDA-5) that astrocytes use to "see" viral invaders. They also identified recognition molecules on the astrocytes that initiate and control the central nervous system's immune responses.
"Ironically, the cells we use to monitor and to protect out brain—the astrocytes—are among those we know the least about," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. "We do know, however, that inflammation of the brain caused by the West Nile virus affects these star-shaped cells and makes the disease difficult to treat .We can use this new understanding of astrocytes not only to devise treatments for viral invaders from abroad, but also from deadly viruses closer to home.
Cody Mooneyhan | 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