How do immune cells detect infections?


How do immune cells detect infections?

Researchers at McGill University have discovered how immune cells are able to identify foreign antigens.

The question "how can immune cells detect infections?" was investigated by the team using computer simulations.

McGill University physics professor Paul François said that for immune cells "singling out foreign proteins is like looking for a needle in a haystack - where the needle may look very much like a straw, and where some straws may also look very much like a needle."

Further understanding the way immune cells work could provide invaluable insight into how immune diseases develop, from AIDS to auto-immune disorders.

Previous research, published in Nature Immunology by investigators in the US suggested that the T cells of the immune system behave in a similar way to bees when coordinating responses to disease pathogens and vaccines - sharing essential information in the same way.

This study, which was published in the journal Physical Review Letters, involved using computational models to find out what solutions the immune system uses to identify foreign antigens (which can cause infections).

There are hundreds of "self-antigens" located around the surface of cells, it's never been clear how the immune system differentiates self-antigens from foreign antigens.

A surprisingly simple solution, linked to the biochemical adaptation, was yielded by the computer simulations. Biochemical adaption is a mechanism by which an organisms is able to cope with different environmental conditions.

The researchers used a computer algorithm - designed by the François research group, based on the theory of Darwinian evolution. Biochemical networks were created using random mathematical models, which were then compared to predefined properties of the human immune system.

The networks which matched the predefined properties the most were repeatedly duplicated and mutated until the networks were almost perfect.

François said:

"Our approach provides a simpler theoretical framework and understanding of what happens" as immune cells sort through the "haystack" to detect foreign antigens and trigger the immune response. Our model shares many similarities with real immune networks."

Concluding that:

"Strikingly, the simplest evolved solution we found has both similar characteristics and some of the blind spots of real immune cells we studied in a previous collaborative study with the groups of Grégoire Altan-Bonnet (Memorial Sloane Kettering, New York), Eric Siggia (Rockefeller University, New York) and Massimo Vergassola (Pasteur Institute, Paris)."

The research reveals an in depth analogy between immune recognition and biochemical adaptation.

Immune system response to an infection

How HIV is able to weaken immune cells was discovered by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. When HIV builds up in the blood immune cells, T cells target the virus but start to produce too much of a receptor molecule that eventually makes them weaker.

The Immune System Explained I – Bacteria Infection (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Medical practice