Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protective role for specialized cells in intestinal, respiratory systems revealed in study

Date:
July 7, 2014
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
Ripping a page from the 'Star Trek' script, specialized cells of the barrier that lines the inside of the intestines and airways of humans have invoked a biological version of Captain Kirk's famous command 'shields up' as a first defense against invading microbes. Research found that certain cells of the epithelium have a potentially important role in immune surveillance -- creating an electrostatic repulsion field to microbial invasion.

David Lo (in lab coat) is a distinguished professor in the UC Riverside medical school's Division of Biomedical Sciences. He is seen here with a student.
Credit: L. Duka

Ripping a page from the Star Trek script, specialized cells of the barrier that lines the inside of the intestines and airways of humans have invoked a biological version of Captain Kirk's famous command "shields up" as a first defense against invading microbes.

Research in the UCR School of Medicine laboratory of David Lo found that certain cells of the epithelium have a potentially important role in immune surveillance -- creating an electrostatic repulsion field to microbial invasion.

The study is featured on the cover of the July issue of Infection and Immunity, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology. Co-authors of the study are Kaila M. Bennett, one of Lo's graduate students, and Sharon L. Walker, a UCR professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

The finding improves scientists' understanding of the densely packed protrusions -- resembling a carpet -- on the surface of some cells that line the insides of the intestines and respiratory system. The protrusions, which biologists call microvilli, increase the surface area of cells and have a role in absorbing nutrients, for instance.

But Lo's laboratory has found that the microvilli actually repel negatively charged bacteria and viruses, suggesting a protective "shield" akin to the force field that envelops the Enterprise in the plots of many "Star Trek" television episodes and movies.

"This is a whole new way of looking at immune surveillance in the epithelium of the human gut and airway," said Lo, a distinguished professor in the medical school's Division of Biomedical Sciences. "If we can take advantage of this electrostatic repulsion, it could improve the diagnosis and treatment of certain bacterial infections."

A number of bacterial and viral infections can gain a foothold in the human body through adsorption via the intestines and airways, such as Salmonella and the flu.

Lo's laboratory has for more than a dozen years studied immune responses in the gut and airways, focusing particularly on cells which function as an early warning in the immune system. "We study the role of certain epithelial cells in the immune system. By understanding how the immune system is able to capture and carry viruses and bacteria across this barrier to trigger a protective immune, we may be able to design better synthetic vaccines, including needle-free vaccines," Lo said.

Lo joined UCR in 2006. In addition to his faculty position in the UCR School of Medicine Division of Biomedical Sciences, he is affiliated with the UCR Center for Disease Vector Research and the UC Global Health Institute. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (2007) and a 2005 recipient of a "Grand Challenges in Global Health" award, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. The original article was written by Iqbal Pittalwala. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. M. Bennett, S. L. Walker, D. D. Lo. Epithelial Microvilli Establish an Electrostatic Barrier to Microbial Adhesion. Infection and Immunity, 2014; 82 (7): 2860 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.01681-14

Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "Protective role for specialized cells in intestinal, respiratory systems revealed in study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152516.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2014, July 7). Protective role for specialized cells in intestinal, respiratory systems revealed in study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152516.htm
University of California - Riverside. "Protective role for specialized cells in intestinal, respiratory systems revealed in study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152516.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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