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Cell division find prompts overhaul of immune response modeling
Date:7/21/2009

e Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

"We found that all the offspring of a single cell died at the same cell division; their lifespan is programmed from that very first cell," Professor Hodgkin said. "We also observed that cell 'siblings' took a similar amount of time to die. This tells us that a very large part of the fate of individual cells is locked in and programmed early."

Professor Hodgkin said it appeared that when a lymphocyte first divided chemicals were produced that were progressively diluted as the cell went through its divisions. When levels of these chemicals fell below a certain threshold the cells stopped dividing and died, he said.

"With accurate information on the time it takes for a lymphocyte to divide, the time taken to die and the number of cell divisions an individual cell goes through, we can develop new mathematical models that are correct not only at a single-cell level but that also hold true for a whole population of cells."

Accurate computer-based models of the immune response are a holy grail for scientists as they promise to unlock new therapies for infectious diseases, and allow careful investigation of autoimmune conditions.


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Contact: Penny Fannin
fannin@wehi.edu.au
61-393-452-345
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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