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Evolution in the antibody factory
Date:3/11/2013

optimal fit of their surface molecules. Once the immune cells with their "surface-key" are able to bind to the "antigen locks" more readily than the finished antibodies, they receive survival signals and their key-form asserts itself.

"This is the 'survival of the fittest' as previously described by Charles Darwin on a molecular level," compares Meyer-Hermann. Studies with mice were able to be confirmed in computer simulations only under the assumption that the B cells compete with their own products namely the antibodies for the right to bind to antigens.

This astounding mechanism could, in the future, improve conventional vaccination methods. "It is plausible that patients could be administered, in addition to a vaccine, sufficiently-strong-binding antibodies," explains Meyer-Hermann. "Our models constructed in the computer suggest that this method accelerates the process of identifying optimal antibodies." The scientists suspect that the addition of antibodies manipulates the reaction to vaccination, since the newly-generated antibodies are now in competition with the externally-introduced molecules. The conditions for selection are thus intensified and the B cells react by producing optimal antibodies earlier on. The result is that vaccinations could take effect quicker.


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Contact: Birgit Manno
Birgit.Manno@helmholtz-hzi.de
49-531-618-11411
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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