The first step against infection is the detection of microorganisms capable of causing disease. This is done through the recognition of molecular structures not shared by the host, but also present in other harmless or even useful microbes. A question that has puzzled scientists for many years is how the host knows exactly against which microbes to mount an immune response. But now, in the November issue of Nature Immunology, scientists describe for the first time an ingenious bacteria-recognition mechanism by epithelial cells, which allows the distinction to be made between dangerous and innocuous bacteria.
The innate immune system is the mammals’ first line of defence as it can be mobilised almost immediately, and so has a crucial role in the prevention and/or fight of infection. Key players in the recognition of bacteria are two families of receptors: Toll-like receptors (TLR), which are normally expressed in cell membranes, and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (Nod) family, found in the cytoplasm.
A simple system by which the innate immune system can differentiate between pathogenic (disease-inducing) and non-pathogenic bacteria is by selective expression of these receptors. For example, TLR and Nod receptors, specific for bacterial molecular components, are expressed in sterile areas of the body like the internal organs, the bloodstream or the cytoplasm. The logic behind this is that if bacteria are found at those locations it would be as result of an infection and consequently an immune response should be mounted. This differential receptor expression however, can not explain how in places like the digestive system, where a varied population of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic extracellular bacteria exist, we are still able to discriminate and attack only the those which can induce disease.
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Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
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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...
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