Navigation Links
Immune cell 'defenders' could beat invading bacteria

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body's immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.

The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defence, and what happens when it goes wrong. It will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and even TB. It could also lead to new protective vaccines.

The discovery, the result of an international collaboration between Monash University and the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland and Cork, builds on work by Australian researchers last year who proved that a group of immune cells called MAITs, which line the gut, lungs and mouth, act as defenders against bacteria. Making up to 10 per cent of T-cells, which are essential to the immune system, mucosal-associated invariant T (MAITs) initiate the immune system's action against foreign invaders when they are exposed to vitamin B2, which is made by bacteria and fungi.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn from Monash University said that access to major facilities in Melbourne played a critical role in the research.

"To get from the first observation to today's discovery required not just smart people but access to Melbourne's Bio21 Institute platforms, dozens of visits to the Australian Synchrotron, and a global research network including our Irish colleagues who provided access to mutant bacterial strains. All that coming together allowed us to beat our international competitors and secure the patent," Professor Rossjohn said.

Professor James McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from The University of Melbourne said little was known about the role of MAITs, beyond the fact that they had an association with bacteria. This latest research narrows down the biochemical trigger for MAIT cells to a particular group of compounds. The reaction is only possible in certain bacteria and fungi, which means the diseases and microbes targeted by the body's MAITs can now be traced.

"We want to unravel the complex molecular interactions that define how we fight disease. This remarkable research collaboration shows us how to do it," Professor McCluskey said.

The research proves that humans and other mammals use but do not make riboflavin; only bacteria and fungi do, which means that MAITs are a useful guard against infection in the gut, mouth and lungs.

Researcher Dr Alexandra Corbett, from The University of Melbourne said the discovery was significant. "We have unlocked a secret that will enable our team to investigate the role that MAIT cells play in health and disease, which is exciting. However, there are major international laboratories with whom we have to compete."

Professor David Fairlie of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland said the finding may be a valuable clue to fight disease and assist with new drug developments.

"MAIT cells are a discovery so recent that they have not even made it into the textbooks. Most doctors know nothing about them. Yet they constitute about one cell in 10 of the body's T-cells and half of all the T-cells in the liver," Professor McCluskey said.

The work is also an early win for the recently announced ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging. The Centre develops new imaging methods to visualise atomic, molecular and cellular details of how immune proteins interact and affect immune responses.


Contact: Lucy Handford
Monash University

Related biology news :

1. Newly discovered molecule may offer hope for immune disorders and runaway inflammation
2. IRCM researchers uncover a new function for an important player in the immune response
3. Study finds that fast-moving cells in the human immune system walk in a stepwise manner
4. An inventive new way to profile immune cells in blood
5. Scientists learn how pathogens hack our immune systems to go undetected
6. Study in mice raises question: Could PTSD involve immune response to stress?
7. Vitamin A used in acne medicines may help autoimmune and transplant patients
8. Puzzling question in bacterial immune system answered
9. Immune system development linked to leukemia
10. With sinus study, Saint Louis University researchers find that harmless members of microbiome spark immune reaction
11. Study: Moderate alcohol consumption boosts bodys immune system
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... -- A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having the ... a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, report ... MIT and Harvard and the University of São Paolo ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that boosts muscle ... Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , PhD, ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... LONDON , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... segmented on the basis of product, type, ... segments included in this report are consumables, ... this report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, ... in this report are diagnostics development, drug ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... New York , November 4, 2015 ... to a new market report published by Transparency Market ... Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global ... of US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market is ... the forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising security ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/23/2015)... --  Ceres, Inc . (Nasdaq: CERE ), an ... fiscal year ended August 31, 2015 and provided an ... --> During fiscal year 2015, Ceres refocused ... a better balance of yield, energy and nutrition. Among ... leading crop input providers and made significant progress in ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... ... November 23, 2015 , ... Shimadzu ... of its Nexera UC Unified Chromatography system. The award from R&D magazine recognizes ... products of the year in the analytical and testing category. R&D Magazine chose ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... GENEVA , November 23, 2015 ... to develop daclatasvir for 112 ... countries   --> --> ... licence for a hepatitis C medicine, signing an agreement with ... proven to help cure multiple genotypes of the HCV virus. ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... -- biochar market is estimated to ... is expected to grow with a CAGR of 17.1% ... of the global market include improved soil fertility and ... government initiatives and stringent environmental regulations, and waste management ... are the key drivers for the growth of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: