Childhood infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is often asymptomatic, while the same infection in adolescents and adults causes infectious mononucleosis (IM). Liisa Selin and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Medical School now show how, in a strange twist of immunological karma, T cells specific to a previously encountered virus (such as the flu) may come back to haunt you, by overzealously responding to a subsequent, unrelated viral infection like EBV, thereby increasing the severity of the immune response and causing IM. Their results appear online on November 23 in advance of print publication in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The authors found that, in patients with IM, memory CD8+ T cells specific to an epitope of the influenza virus encountered in a previous infection, also recognized and reacted to an epitope of the Epstein-Barr virus. These two epitopes, with only 33% similarity, stimulate different T cell activities, which in sum skew the immune response to EBV infection. Excessive lymphocyte proliferation contributes to the marked deviation in disease course and is symptomatic of IM.
Overall, this demonstration of cross-reactivity involving 2 immunodominant epitopes from 2 of the most common human viruses highlights the potential importance of cross-reactive T cells in human disease states.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
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