Navigation Links
Immune cells reveal fancy footwork

Our immune system plays an essential role in protecting us from diseases, but how does it do this exactly? Dutch biologist Suzanne van Helden discovered that before dendritic cells move to the lymph nodes they lose their sticky feet. This helps them to move much faster. Immature dendritic cells patrol the tissues in search of antigens. After exposure to such antigens they undergo a rigorous maturation process. During this maturation the dendritic cells migrate to the lymph nodes to activate T cells. Suzanne van Helden studied the adhesion and migration of both immature and mature dendritic cells.

Dendritic cell as a general

A dendritic cell can be compared with a pocket-sized general. As an immature cell he is on patrol in the bloodstream and in tissues in search of foreign bodies. The feet, or podosomes, help the cell to move around at a slow pace. As soon as immature dendritic cells detect a problem they must report back quickly to the T cells to warn them of impending danger. The dendritic cells are then hindered by their adhesive feet. This is the reason why at this point the cell undergoes modifications and loses its feet. In this way the mature dendritic cell can wing its way to the T cells at full speed. Once alerted, the T cells can intervene and tackle the problem in the body's infected tissues.

Van Helden not only demonstrated that dendritic cells lose their podosomes very quickly during maturation but she also identified the substances that are responsible for their disappearance. The presence of prostaglandin E2 is indispensable for this disassembly. In addition, it appears that dendritic cells lose their podosomes after interaction with certain bacteria. What is striking is that only gram-negative bacteria lead to podosome loss. Gram-positive bacteria do not have this effect. Van Helden concludes that dendritic cells can apparently distinguish between different pathogens.

Dendritic cells in action

The immune system can act in different ways to keep the body healthy. Unfortunately the working of the immune system is not perfect. In cancer for example, the immune system does not respond to the altered cells that make up the tumour. It is possible that this knowledge about the adhesion and migration of dendritic cells could contribute to future developments in a new approach to cancer treatment.

Van Helden carried out her research within a group of scientists that study the function of dendritic cells in different ways. The research comprises not only fundamental research, as in Van Helden's case, but also preclinical and clinical trials. The research was made possible by a grant from NWO. Spinoza Prize winner Carl Figdor supervised Van Helden during her research.


Contact: Suzanne van Helden
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Related biology news :

1. New type of vaccines deliver stronger and faster immune response
2. Researcher tricks immune system in diabetic mice
3. Proteomics study yields clues as to how tuberculosis might be thwarting the immune system
4. Protein tubules free avian flu virus from immune recognition
5. Lung airway cells activate vitamin D and increase immune response
6. A double-barreled immune cell approach for neuroblastoma
7. Mercury pollution causes immune damage to harbor seals
8. Seemingly suicidal stunt is normal rite of passage for immune cells
9. Scripps research team sheds light on immune system suppression
10. Response to immune protein determines pathology of multiple sclerosis
11. Genetic finding implicates innate immune system in major cause of blindness
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... from 17 th until 19 th November 2015.   ... the first combined scanner in the world which scans both ... two different scanners were required: one for passports and one ... same surface. This innovation is an ideal solution for electronic ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed ... dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating ... the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the ... . Cell, pinpoints a protective ... the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015 About signature verification ... to identify and verify the identity of an ... the secure and accurate method of authentication and ... individual because each individual,s signature is highly unique. ... dynamic signature of an individual is compared and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific ... contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of ... in lower margins but higher volume share for ... capacity and scale, however, margins in the CRO ... Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), finds ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an essential ... bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million ... (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PHILADELPIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... young entrepreneurs at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ... student projects from each state are competing for votes to win the title of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... (the "Company") announced today that the remaining 11,000 ... Common Share Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") ... agreement were exercised on November 23, 2015, which ... Common Shares.  After giving effect to the issuance ...
Breaking Biology Technology: