HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Ancient "Jumping DNA" May Have Evolved into Key Component of Human Immune System

August 20, 1998-The human immune system, an elegant and intricate biological defense system unmatched in most life forms, may have evolved from a mobile piece of DNA that inserted itself into the mammalian genome more than 450 million years ago.

A team of researchers led by David G. Schatz at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University has found evidence that tiny gene particles vital to the task of producing millions of different kinds of antibodies act like a gene segment that can "jump" into foreign DNA. Although there are many examples of such genes in lower organisms, it is the first cut-and-paste "transposase" ever found in humans.

"This helps explain why the jawed vertebrates are the only species that have a second, adaptive immune system, in addition to the innate immune system that all other species have," says Schatz, an immunologist. His study, conducted with Yale researchers Alka Agrawal and Quinn M. Eastman, is published in the August 20 issue of the journal Nature.

An adaptive immune system relies on two lines of defense to detect and destroy invaders. Both parts of the immune system belong to a class of white blood cells called lymphocytes, found in the blood and lymphoid organs. B lymphocytes produce antibodies that bind tightly to a foreign molecule, inactivating it or marking it for destruction by other cells in the immune system. T lymphocytes detect the presence of foreign molecules inside special "processing" cells once those cells have displayed a fragment of the foreign molecule-those pieces are called antigens-on the processing cell's surface. So-called T-cell receptors on the surface of the T lymphocyte bind strongly to the antigen.

Although they perform different functions, both B and T lymphocytes use the same unique genetic mechanism to economically generate an almost unlimited number of antibodies and T-cell receptors. Indeed, the human immune system is capable of producing a larger number of different ant
'"/>

Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
20-Aug-1998


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Ancient life form may help create newest technologies
2. Ancient brewery discovered on mountaintop in Peru
3. Ancient Greeks help scientists build environmentally friendly nano devices
4. Ancient DNA mutations permitted humans to adapt to colder climates, UCI researchers find
5. Ancient Inca road in desperate need of protection
6. Ancient DNA analysis unveils mystery of historys most horribly deformed man -- The Elephant Man
7. Ancient pollen yields insight into forest biodiversity
8. Ancient defense mechanism may still be protecting us
9. Ancient flower fossil points to underwater origins
10. Ancient supernova may have triggered eco-catastrophe
11. Ancient Chinese folk remedy may hold key to non-toxic cancer treatment

Post Your Comments:
(Date:7/27/2014)... Using data from over 18,000 patients, scientists have ... involved in Parkinson,s disease, including six that had ... Nature Genetics , was partially funded by ... by scientists working in NIH laboratories. , "Unraveling ... understanding the multiple mechanisms involved in this complex ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... summer and some of the smoke from those fires is ... by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua ... descended over the Great Lakes region of the United States. ... July 23, 2014 (first image feature highlighted below) clearly shows ... In the image, it is over Manitoba and ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University ... tissue engineering and artificial organ development., "Introduction to ... guide to entering into the field of artificial ... of biomedical engineering at UH, served as a ... while there are other published books on the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):NIH scientists find 6 new genetic risk factors for Parkinson's 2University of Houston researcher publishes textbook on tissue engineering 2
(Date:7/25/2014)... The Conferee Networking committee is pleased to ... These two-hour sessions provide a unique networking opportunity for ... discuss new techniques, or brainstorm new ideas in an ... for consideration is August 31, 2014, and instructions can ... committee will review the topics, and status notifications will ...
(Date:7/25/2014)... , July 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Xybion Corporation, ... for global corporations operating in highly regulated industries, ... first annual Global User Group Conference, Xybion International ... Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Sheraton ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140724/130263 This year,s conference ...
(Date:7/24/2014)... 24, 2014 -- Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:KERX) (the "Company") ... active control Phase 3 study of Zerenex (ferric citrate), ... the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in patients with end-stage renal ... and iRon delivery with FErric CiTrate in EsrD) was ... American Society of Nephrology ( JASN ). ...
(Date:7/24/2014)...  Now available is a stem cell therapy that ... , located in Guadalajara, Mexico , ... new health option: stem cell therapies for sports ... suffer from joint and muscle injuries due to professional ... rotator cuff, tennis elbow, and knee injuries. Throughout life ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Pittcon 2015 Announces Call for Topics for Conferee Networking Sessions 2Xybion Announces It Will Host International User Conference in Philadelphia 2Xybion Announces It Will Host International User Conference in Philadelphia 3Zerenex (ferric citrate) long-term Phase 3 study results published in JASN 2Zerenex (ferric citrate) long-term Phase 3 study results published in JASN 3Zerenex (ferric citrate) long-term Phase 3 study results published in JASN 4Stem Cells In Sports Injuries, Joints And Muscular Pain 2Stem Cells In Sports Injuries, Joints And Muscular Pain 3
Cached News: