Research on the mechanisms of allergy has focused on the understanding of aberrant immunoresponses. Only lately the role of epithelium as the first line of defense against allergens has been realized. So far, we do not know why and how allergens are transported through the epithelium.
The research groups of the Helsinki University and Helsinki University Central Hospital in collaboration with several other Finnish research groups aimed to clarify what happens in the epithelium immediately after allergen exposure, before the allergic reaction develops. They used birch pollen allergen (Bet v 1) exposure and showed that this allergen binds to, enters and travels through conjunctival and nasal epithelium of allergic patients but not of healthy subjects within one minute after the exposure. An allergic reaction developed when the allergen reached mast cells under the basement membrane.
During the research it became evident that during spring, in allergic patients the birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 changed the expression of hundreds of genes of the nasal epithelium compared to samples taken during winter; and of these genes several were connected with protein transport and regulation of cytoskeleton. An astonishing finding was that the immune response of in healthy controls to pollen exposure was strong, and hundreds of genes changed their expression during winter and spring; however, many of these genes were related to the function of the immune response.
"We were able to describe a mechanism whereby birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 travels through the epithelium of allergic patients but not of healthy subjects. This kind of transport mechanisms are used by several viruses and bacteria when invading the epithelium and infecting patients", explains Professor Risto Renkonen (Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki and HUSLAB, Helsinki, Finland).
A systems biological approach was used in these studies, where data obtained concomitantly by several different methods is collected into a massive data warehouse allowing one to start analyzing the roles of different proteins and their networks in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions.
Reductionistic analyses, i.e., work focusing on one or only a few molecules are gradually replaced by systems approaches. The ability to discover new, etiologically relevant disease mechanisms is the major motivation for unbiased explorative approaches. The drawback of such top-down experiments is that they are very expensive and produce much more raw data than hypothesis-derived approaches thus generating an overflow of data. However, the urgent need to develop in silico data managing and analysis environments has been recognized by several research groups and biocompanies.
Prof Risto Renkonen | EurekAlert!
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Reading rats’ minds
29.11.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.
The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Life Sciences
10.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
10.12.2018 | Life Sciences