HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Invertebrate immune systems are anything but simple, conference finds

A hundred years since Russian microbiologist Elie Metschnikow first discovered the invertebrate immune system, scientists are only just beginning to understand its complexity. Presenting their findings at a recent European Science Foundation (ESF) conference, scientists showed that invertebrates have evolved elaborate ways to fight disease.

By studying starfish, Metschnikow was the first to see cells digesting bacteria, a process he called phagocytosis (the eating of cells by other cells). Phagocytosis, it turns out, is an important immune defence in all living things. Since Metschnikows work, scientists have studied the immune systems of simpler organisms (such as invertebrates) in the hope of understanding the immune systems of more complex organisms, like us.

However, invertebrates immune systems are more elaborate than we expected. We have underestimated the complexity of invertebrate immunity, says Dr. Paul Schmid-Hempel, an evolutionary ecologist at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. By studying the immune systems of fruit flies, mosquitoes and other invertebrates (including bed bugs, moths, crustaceans, worms, sponges and bees), scientists are finding new molecules involved in defences against pathogens (microbes that cause disease).

One molecule found in fruit flies, Dscam, is capable of folding itself in 18,000 different ways. Computer models that predict the structure of this molecule have led scientists to suggest that this folding creates different shapes, each capable of binding to different structures on the pathogens surface. These molecules can be used very flexibly by assembling their components in many ways, says Schmid-Hempel. Until now, this ability to recognize specific pathogens was thought to be limited to vertebrates.

In another exciting area of research, scientists showed the sophisticated ways that invertebrates manage their immune systems. Insects recognise peptidoglycan [a component of ba
'"/>

Contact: Paul Schmid-Hempel
psh@env.ethz.ch
European Science Foundation
21-Jun-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Bursts of waves drive immune system soldiers toward invaders
2. A friendly foe -- Bacteria residing in the gut boost immune response to tumors
3. A stepwise retreat: How immune cells catch pathogens
4. Link between immune system and mammary gland could shed new light on breast cancer
5. Researchers discover method for identifying how cancer evades the immune system
6. Mucosal-surface immune function discoveries could boost vaccine research
7. LIAI researchers identify a potential role for retinoic acid in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
8. UCLA researchers discover novel pathway that may promote immune system balance
9. Pregnant moms exposure to flu vaccine kick-starts fetal immune system
10. Cytomegalovirus exacerbates atherosclerosis through an autoimmune mechanism
11. Natural immune-control system may aid treatment of autoimmune disease and tissue rejection

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/21/2020)... BOSTON (PRWEB) , ... August 19, 2020 , ... ... , the premier conference and expo uniting life science, data science, informatics and ... keynote sessions. , “In this period of uncertainty and change, Bio-IT takes the ...
(Date:8/7/2020)... SAN FRANCISCO (PRWEB) , ... August 06, 2020 ... ... the life sciences industry, is pleased to announce that Eric Chen and Jessica ... Vice President of Product Management & Strategy, respectively. , Eric Chen heads development ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... BioFactura, Inc. ... awarded by the Joint Science & Technology Office—Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD) of ... optimize, and scale-up a highly efficient mammalian cell culture-based bioprocess suitable to meet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2020)... , ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... of the top radiation centers in 16 countries, has reached its 20th anniversary ... is now in routine use at top universities including University of Pennsylvania, University ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... ... “We are thrilled to deliver this new technology to the industry” said Matt Hundt, ... market and we were pleased that the IFT jury recognized that.” reFRESH™ couples the ... natural way to extend the shelf life and improve the safety of perishable foods ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... ... today that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has expanded the company’s exclusive ... PathSensors to move into the point-of-care diagnostic market, focusing initially on the ...
(Date:7/7/2020)... ... July 06, 2020 , ... ... Entries from Roche, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the University of Chicago, Massachusetts General ... World has hosted an elite awards program, highlighting outstanding examples of how technology ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: