Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immune cell 'defenders' could beat invading bacteria

Date:
April 3, 2014
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
The precise biochemical key that wakes up the body's immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi has been identified by an international team of scientists. The work provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defense, and what happens when it goes wrong. It will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and even TB. It could also lead to new protective vaccines.

T-cell activation.
Credit: Image courtesy of Monash University

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body's immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.

The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defense, and what happens when it goes wrong. It will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and even TB. It could also lead to new protective vaccines.

The discovery, the result of an international collaboration between Monash University and the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland and Cork, builds on work by Australian researchers last year who proved that a group of immune cells called MAITs, which line the gut, lungs and mouth, act as defenders against bacteria. Making up to 10 per cent of T-cells, which are essential to the immune system, mucosal-associated invariant T (MAITs) initiate the immune system's action against foreign invaders when they are exposed to vitamin B2, which is made by bacteria and fungi.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn from the School of Biomedical Sciences at Monash University said that access to major facilities in Melbourne played a critical role in the research.

"To get from the first observation to today's discovery required not just smart people but access to Melbourne's Bio21 Institute platforms, dozens of visits to the Australian Synchrotron, and a global research network including our Irish colleagues who provided access to mutant bacterial strains. All that coming together allowed us to beat our international competitors and secure the patent," Professor Rossjohn said.

Professor James McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from The University of Melbourne said little was known about the role of MAITs, beyond the fact that they had an association with bacteria. This latest research narrows down the biochemical trigger for MAIT cells to a particular group of compounds. The reaction is only possible in certain bacteria and fungi, which means the diseases and microbes targeted by the body's MAITs can now be traced.

"We want to unravel the complex molecular interactions that define how we fight disease. This remarkable research collaboration shows us how to do it," Professor McCluskey said.

The research proves that humans and other mammals use but do not make riboflavin; only bacteria and fungi do, which means that MAITs are a useful guard against infection in the gut, mouth and lungs.

Researcher Dr Alexandra Corbett, from The University of Melbourne said the discovery was significant. "We have unlocked a secret that will enable our team to investigate the role that MAIT cells play in health and disease, which is exciting. However, there are major international laboratories with whom we have to compete."

Professor David Fairlie of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland said the finding may be a valuable clue to fight disease and assist with new drug developments.

"MAIT cells are a discovery so recent that they have not even made it into the textbooks. Most doctors know nothing about them. Yet they constitute about one cell in 10 of the body's T-cells and half of all the T-cells in the liver," Professor McCluskey said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexandra J. Corbett, Sidonia B. G. Eckle, Richard W. Birkinshaw, Ligong Liu, Onisha Patel, Jennifer Mahony, Zhenjun Chen, Rangsima Reantragoon, Bronwyn Meehan, Hanwei Cao, Nicholas A. Williamson, Richard A. Strugnell, Douwe Van Sinderen, Jeffrey Y. W. Mak, David P. Fairlie, Lars Kjer-Nielsen, Jamie Rossjohn, James McCluskey. T-cell activation by transitory neo-antigens derived from distinct microbial pathways. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13160

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Immune cell 'defenders' could beat invading bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403095501.htm>.
Monash University. (2014, April 3). Immune cell 'defenders' could beat invading bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403095501.htm
Monash University. "Immune cell 'defenders' could beat invading bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403095501.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

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) — The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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