Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers unravel the social network of immune cells

28.04.2017

Macrophages are real chatterboxes

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – nowadays, good social networking and communication is more important than ever. The immune system also resembles a large social network, as shown by Felix Meissner and his team in the Experimental System Immunology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried.


Cells of the immune system need to communicate diligent with each other to defend successfully against diseases. Some cells send more informations than others, illustrated by differing line width.

M. Krause, © MPI of Biochemistry

With the help of proteomics they deciphered the messages exchanged between immune cells responsible for protecting us against diseases. In doing so, they have discovered complex cellular communication structures and previously unknown connections between various cell types. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Social networks such as Facebook now connect people around the globe, for the exchange of countless messages and pieces of information every day. Some people prefer to use social networks passively, only reading messages, while others have a strong need to communicate with others and tend to send out a large volume of information. The cells of our immune system work in a similar manner.

When cells wish to communicate with each other, they emit messengers, unique signal molecules, which are detected by other cells via cell surface receptors. These messengers disseminate information throughout the body to control immune reactions against pathogens. Some cell types are more communicative than others. “Innate immune cells such as macrophages are real chatterboxes,” Meissner says.

Meissner and his colleagues searched for messengers and their receptors on cell surfaces using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. For their study, the scientists first sorted a total of 28 different immune cell types, including macrophages and lymphocytes, from the blood of healthy individuals by means of flow cytometry. Each cell type has a different function in the immune system and therefore, communicates differently. By sorting the cells, the researchers were able to study the unique communication behaviour of each cell type separately.

This large-scale analysis revealed the intricate communication networks between immune cells. “Every cell has a distinct character. We can determine who tells whom what story and also who is not listening,” Meissner reports. The researchers have identified previously unknown communication pathways between cell types. They also showed that the pattern of messengers and receptors on the surface of immune cells can change. “A fungal infection, for example, gives rise to a different network than, say, a bacterial infection,” Meissner explains.
In the future, the researchers want to investigate how cells communicate within tissues and how cellular communication behaviour changes during complex diseases. (Sas)

Original publication:  
J.Rieckmann, R.Geiger, D.Hornburg, T.Wolf, Ksenya Kveler, D.Jarropssay, F.Sallusto, S.Shen-Orr, A.Lanzavecchia, M.Mann, & F.Meissner: Social network architecture of human immune cells unveiled by quantitative proteomics, Nature Immunology, March 2017
DOI:10.1038/ni.3693

Contact:

Dr. Felix Meissner
Department Experimental Systems Immunology
Max-Planck-Institut of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
E-Mail: meissner@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de/meissner

Dr. Christiane Menzfeld
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
E-Mail: pr@biochem.mpg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.biochem.mpg.de/meissner - Homepage Research Group Meissner
http://www.biochem.mpg.de - Homepage Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Dr. Christiane Menzfeld | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microbes can grow on nitric oxide (NO)
18.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel methods for analyzing neural circuits for innate behaviors in insects
15.03.2019 | Kanazawa University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

Im Focus: A thermo-sensor for magnetic bits

New concept for energy-efficient data processing technology

Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...

Im Focus: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers measure near-perfect performance in low-cost semiconductors

18.03.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nanocrystal 'factory' could revolutionize quantum dot manufacturing

18.03.2019 | Materials Sciences

Long-distance quantum information exchange -- success at the nanoscale

18.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>