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Scientists Develop Method to Track Immune System Enzyme in Live Animals

lated or deregulated is that there has not been an easy way to visualize the enzymes action in a living animal until now.

To address this issue, Dr. Casellas and his colleagues created transgenic mice that had a green fluorescent protein derived from jellyfish fused to the AID enzyme. In these transgenic animals, B cells express the tagged enzyme during the immune response.

In a second mouse strain, Casellas and coworkers expressed permanently a yellow fluorescent protein in the progeny of germinal center B cells. Thanks to these new mouse models, we can track in live animals whenever the AID enzyme is active as well as the result of that activity, says Casellas. Scientists can also cross these new mouse strains with mice predisposed to B-cell tumors or autoimmunity to see differences in enzyme expression in health and disease.

NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz. M.D., Ph.D., believes these new tools have great potential to help solve some mysteries of the immune system, such as the causes of B-cell tumors and autoimmunity. The better we understand these problems, he says, the closer we come to better treatments for them and eventually, perhaps, ways to prevent them.


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