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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 4, 2016 --> ... to SEK 1,351.5 M (105.0), up 1,187% compared with fourth quarter of ... amounted to SEK 517.6 M (loss: 30.0). Earnings per share ... activities was SEK 537.4 M (neg: 74.7). , ... , Revenues amounted to SEK 2,900.5 M (233.6), up 1,142% compared with ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces ... Department in Missouri solved two ... reader (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. Brian ... in which the victim was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed ... next to his vehicle, striking his vehicle and leaving ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed in hospitals ... medical screening and diagnostic applications, such as ... that facilitate and assure continuous monitoring without ... being bolstered through new opportunities offered by ... coupled with wireless connectivity and low power ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... Contact:, Abby ... for Excellence in Education Sponsors Teacher Training Program , Bite of Science Dinner ... The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) will sponsor a Bite of Science ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... On Thursday, February 11, 2-1-1 San ... health and disaster services, and the Community Information ... care coordination and service delivery for the community to ... to better connect service providers to the information they ... Diego has handled more than 2.5 million ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Morf Media ... announced an interactive FDA compliance training course, Writing Effective SOPs ... Society) accredited interactive course on Morf Playbook—now conveniently available on smartphones and PCs--provides ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... 04, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will showcase several ... and poster sessions, and present on the analysis of mycotoxins and medical cannabis ... to 10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: