Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zebrafish May Offer Researchers Powerful New Tool For Studying Innate Immunity

Date:
October 19, 2004
Source:
University Of South Florida
Summary:
For the first time, researchers have sequenced all 36 genes of novel receptors that appear to play a critical role in the innate immune protection of zebrafish – an achievement that could lead to a better understanding of infectious diseases and certain cancers.

Zebrafish.
Credit: Photo courtesy of University Of Oregon

Tampa, FL (Oct. 18, 2004) -- For the first time, researchers have sequenced all 36 genes of novel receptors that appear to play a critical role in the innate immune protection of zebrafish – an achievement that could lead to a better understanding of infectious diseases and certain cancers.

Their paper, titled “Resolution of the novel immune-type receptor gene cluster in zebrafish,” appears online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is the most genetically complex system of innate immune receptors thus far described,”said principal investigator Gary Litman, PhD, Hines Professor of Pediatrics who works at the Children’s Research Institute at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and All Children’s Hospital. “They may be related to receptors in humans involved in natural killer cell function.” Natural killer cells sense and kill malignant cells and cells infected with certain viruses.

The zebrafish, a small species of freshwater aquarium fish, increasingly serves as an animal model for the study of genetic diseases. Like humans, it has two types of immune systems – innate and adaptive. Innate immune systems provide a first line of defense against foreign microorganisms. But, humans and other jawed vertebrates have also evolved more customized or adaptive immune systems, which use an arsenal of antibodies and T-cell receptors to fend off diverse pathogens and prevent repeat attacks.

Dr. Litman and his colleagues are trying to tease out details about the evolutionary transition from innate to adaptive immunity with powerful new biotechnology techniques.

They searched the genome of the zebrafish and identified a class of genes, called novel immune-type receptor (NITR) genes, which are predicted to be capable of recognizing a wide range of surface molecules. A portion of the NITR genes is very similar to variable region genes of antibodies and T-cell receptors, but the NITR genes do not undergo the complex genetic rearrangements of these adaptive receptors.

“The comprehensive definition of the NITR gene cluster in zebrafish reported in this paper represents a significant step toward understanding the mechanisms underlying the transition from non-specific innate immunity to specific adaptive immunity,” Dr. Litman said.

The researchers also found that only one of the 36 NITR genes is involved in the activation type of innate immunity. By targeting the one gene and knocking it out, researchers may be able to eliminate innate immunity. They hope to use the zebrafish as a tool to better understand how innate immunity may ignite adaptive immune response and to investigate potential therapies for immune deficiencies in humans.

The team working with Dr. Litman included researchers from Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City, UT; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, FL; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK, and the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.

The zebrafish genome study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Moffitt Cancer Center, the Wellcome Trust and All Children’s Hospital also supported the project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of South Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of South Florida. "Zebrafish May Offer Researchers Powerful New Tool For Studying Innate Immunity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041019090736.htm>.
University Of South Florida. (2004, October 19). Zebrafish May Offer Researchers Powerful New Tool For Studying Innate Immunity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041019090736.htm
University Of South Florida. "Zebrafish May Offer Researchers Powerful New Tool For Studying Innate Immunity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041019090736.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins