The new research, currently available online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, analysed these markers which are believed to tell the female immune system that the sperm are not dangerous pathogens, and therefore should not be attacked by the woman’s white blood cells during the reproductive process. The study, led by Imperial College London and the University of Missouri, suggests that these sugar markers, found on N-glycans which are part of human sperm glycoproteins, can be universally recognised by all human immune systems, regardless of the individual.
Professor Anne Dell from Imperial College London’s Department of Life Sciences, one of the study’s lead authors, said: “Normal human cells carry chemical markers made of proteins which tell the immune system not to attack them. In the case of organ transplants, for example, doctors try to match these markers in both the donor and the recipient to prevent rejection. However, in the case of sperm cells, their sugar-based markers are different: they are recognised by everyone’s immune system, meaning that no immune response is triggered during reproduction between any two people.”
This kind of marker is also found on some types of cancer cells, some bacterial cells, some parasitic worms and HIV infected white blood cells. The scientists believe that these markers allow such dangerous cells and pathogens to evade destruction by the human immune system, leading to serious – sometimes fatal - illness.
Professor Dell explains that understanding how this basic biology works on sperm cells may lead to greater knowledge of how some serious diseases and infections manage to win the battle with the human immune system. She says:
“If aggressive cancers and pathogens are using the same system of universally-recognisable markers to trick the immune system into thinking they’re harmless, we need to work out exactly how this interaction works. This is where we’re planning to take this research next. Understanding how these markers work at a basic biological and chemical level could lead to new ways to treat or prevent cancers and other diseases in the future.”
Danielle Reeves | alfa
Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
06.08.2020 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Tellurium makes the difference
06.08.2020 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences