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 August 20, 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) 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