Navigation Links
Evolution in action: Our antibodies take 'evolutionary leaps' to fight microbes
Date:1/5/2009

With cold and flu season in full swing, the fact that viruses and bacteria rapidly evolve is apparent with every sneeze, sniffle, and cough. A new report in the January 2009 issue of The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), explains for the first time how humans keep up with microbes by rearranging the genes that make antibodies to foreign invaders. This research fills a significant gap in our understanding of how the immune system helps us survive.

"We've known for a long time that our antibody-forming system adapts itself to every microbe we encounter," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "but what we didn't understand fully is exactly how this happens. Now that we know, we can begin to find ways to manipulate this process so illnesses can be prevented or made significantly less dangerous."

When the body encounters a foreign invader, like a virus or bacterium, it immediately begins to find a way to neutralize it by means of cellular or antibody-mediated defenses. Part of the process involves tailoring the genes that code for antibodies to specific viruses or bacteria. Researchers have known that this involves two types of genetic manipulation. One type changes a single gene at a time, and the other type changes multiple genes at the same time. In the report, scientists from Wayne State University in Detroit describe how multiple genes can be modified simultaneously to make the "evolutionary leap" necessary to stave off infection. The basic setup of the experiment treated DNA responsible for making antibody molecules with an enzyme, called activation-induced deaminase, while the DNA was being copied by RNA polymerase. Like a scanner, RNA polymerase moves across the DNA to copy it. When this scanning process moved smoothly, there were either single mutations or no mutations. When the researchers made the RNA polymerase stall along the DNA (under certain conditions), it caused several mutations at once (cluster mutations) in the DNA, adapting our antibodies for a rapid and effective response to a new microbial invader.

"As the planet warms, infectious diseases may be one the biggest threats to human survival," Weissmann added. "Nowadays, mosquitoes, parasites and viruses cause diseases in the United States that were once isolated to warmer parts of the world. They evolve, and - a la Darwin - so does our immune system each time we meet a new microbial invader."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A simple fusion to jump-start evolution
2. Breast cancer genome shows evolution, instability of cancer
3. Orangutans spontaneous whistling opens new chapter in study of evolution of speech
4. Biogeography, changing climates and niche evolution
5. Using water to understand human society, from the industrial revolution to global trade
6. Scientists shed light on evolution of gene regulation
7. Flies may reveal evolutionary step to live birth
8. Discovery of giant roaming deep sea protist provides new perspective on animal evolution
9. Two from one: Pitt research maps out evolution of genders from hermaphroditic ancestors
10. Evolutions new wrinkle
11. Forced evolution: Can we mutate viruses to death?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016 Advancements ... experience, health wellness and wellbeing (HWW), and ... in three new passenger vehicles begin to ... gesture recognition, heart beat monitoring, brain wave ... facial monitoring, and pulse detection. These will ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Market Research Future published a half cooked research report on Mobile ... Service Market is expected to grow over the CAGR of ~35% ... ... Mobile Biometric Security and Service Market is increasing at ... and security from unwanted cyber threats. The increasing use of mobile ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016   Avanade is helping ... One teams in history, exploit biometric data in order ... and maintain the competitive edge against their rivals after ... Avanade has worked with Williams during the ... biometric data (heart rate, breathing rate, temperature and peak ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)...  An international team of researchers from UC ... Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre/University of Manitoba have identified ... need affecting nearly one in 15 Americans. Published ... results identify small molecule drugs with neuroprotective and ... in animal models of metabolic, chemical and infection ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Jan. 17, 2017   Pulmatrix, Inc . (NASDAQ: ... developing innovative inhaled therapies to address serious pulmonary diseases, ... infections in the lungs of CF patients, PUR1900, has ... by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. ... to speed the development of novel drugs against important ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Jan. 17, 2017  Only nine percent of U.S. ... profits, while only 16 percent believe health insurance companies ... Meanwhile, 36 percent of U.S. adults believe health care ... profits, compared to hospitals (23%). "We are ... Wendy Salomon , vice president of reputation management ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Pono Ola ... peaceful and healthy lifestyle, announced today the official launch of its much-anticipated Pono Board: ... mind. , In development for over a year, the patented Pono Board ...
Breaking Biology Technology: