Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Helper cells aptly named in battle with invading pathogens

Date:
August 9, 2013
Source:
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Summary:
By tracking the previously unknown movements of a set of specialized cells, scientists are shedding new light on how the immune system mounts a successful defense against hostile, ever-changing invaders.

By tracking the previously unknown movements of a set of specialized cells, Whitehead Institute scientists are shedding new light on how the immune system mounts a successful defense against hostile, ever-changing invaders.

Central to the immune response is the activity inside structures known as germinal centers (GCs), which form in the body's lymph nodes upon detection of a foreign virus or bacteria. Within the GCs, populations of antibody-producing B cells move through continual cycles of mutation in an effort to generate antibodies perfectly suited to bind and neutralize the harmful invader. Because the production of such high-affinity antibodies requires diversity, multiple GCs arise in a single lymph node, with each GC housing an exclusive population of B cells.

During the mutation cycles, most of the B cells in any given GC fail to achieve sufficient antibody affinity and are eliminated. A few, however, measure up, and are selected to proliferate, leave the GC, and produce the antibodies that attack the offending pathogen. This selection process is driven by cells known as T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, which essentially cherry-pick the B cells capable of producing the most potent antibodies. Yet much of the behavior of Tfh cells has been something of a mystery. Until now.

By developing and deploying a novel cellular tagging and imaging methodology, a team of scientists led by Whitehead Fellow Gabriel Victora has discovered that, unlike their B cell counterparts, Tfh cells continually move from GC to GC within a lymph node. This surprising finding is reported in the August 9th edition of the journal Science.

Victora used fluorescence microscopy to trace the Tfh cells' migratory patterns in the lymph nodes of living mice, noting that these cells constantly migrate between germinal centers. This activity may enhance the diversity of antibody production by introducing static B cells to a range of dynamic Tfh cells, and could help explain how the immune system copes with mutating pathogens.

"We think this could be the way our immune system can maintain a targeted immune response, even when the target is moving," says Victora, whose latest research was conducted with collaborators at the Rockefeller University in New York.

Victora believes that continued mapping of the choreography between B cells and Tfh cells has significant implications for improving vaccine development, as it suggests opportunities to influence antibody development.

"We are slowly deciphering the rules governing antibody evolution in the germinal center," he says. "This will help inform vaccine design, especially for rapidly mutating viruses like HIV. It may be that manipulating the germinal center will be necessary to produce effective vaccines."

This work is supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant 5DP5OD012146-02).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The original article was written by Matt Fearer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Z. Shulman, A. D. Gitlin, S. Targ, M. Jankovic, G. Pasqual, M. C. Nussenzweig, G. D. Victora. T Follicular Helper Cell Dynamics in Germinal Centers. Science, 2013; 341 (6146): 673 DOI: 10.1126/science.1241680

Cite This Page:

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Helper cells aptly named in battle with invading pathogens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809083831.htm>.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. (2013, August 9). Helper cells aptly named in battle with invading pathogens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809083831.htm
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Helper cells aptly named in battle with invading pathogens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130809083831.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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