Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The oracle of the T cell

Date:
December 5, 2013
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
A new online platform predicts how the human immune system reacts to foreign substances.

The virtual T cell allows an online simulation of the response of this immune cell to external signals.
Credit: University of Freiburg

A platform that simulates how the body defends itself: The T cells of the immune system decide whether to trigger an immune response against foreign substances.

Since December 2013, scientists from around the world can use the "virtual T cell" to test for themselves what happens in the blood cell when receptor proteins are activated on the surface. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schamel from the Institute of Biology III, Facutly of Biology, the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies and the Center of Chromic Immunodeficiency of the University of Freiburg is coordinating the European Union-funded project SYBILLA, "Systems Biology of T-Cell Activation in Health and Disease." This consortium of 17 partners from science and industry has been working since 2008 to understand the T cell as a system. Now the findings of the project are available to the public on an interactive platform. Simulating the signaling pathways in the cell enables researchers to develop new therapeutic approaches for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases.

The T cell is activated by vaccines, allergens, bacteria, or viruses. The T cell receptor identifies these foreign substances and sets off intracellular signaling cascades. This response is then modified by many further receptors. In the end, the network of signaling proteins results in cell division, growth, or the release of messengers that guide other cells of the immune system. The network initiates the attack on the foreign substances. Sometimes, however, the process of activation goes awry: The T cells mistakenly attack the body's own cells, as in autoimmune diseases, or they ignore harmful cells like cancer cells.

The online platform developed by Dr. Utz-Uwe Haus and Prof. Dr. Robert Weismantel from the Department of Mathematics of ETH Zurich in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Lindquist and Prof. Dr. Burkhart Schraven from the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Immunology of the University of Magdeburg and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig allows researchers to click through the signaling network of the T cells: Users can switch on twelve receptors, including the T cell receptor, identify the signals on the surface of other cells, or bind messengers.

The mathematical model then calculates the behavior of the network out of the 403 elements in the system. The result is a combination of the activity of 52 proteins that predict what will happen with the cell: They change the way in which the DNA is read and thus also that which the cell produces. Now researchers can find weak points for active substances that could be used to treat immune diseases or cancer by switching on and off particular signals in the model. Every protein and every interaction between proteins is described in detail in the network, backed up with references to publications. In addition, users can even extend the model themselves to include further signaling proteins.

Link to the platform: http://sybilla-t-cell.de/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "The oracle of the T cell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205092234.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2013, December 5). The oracle of the T cell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205092234.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "The oracle of the T cell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131205092234.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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