Earth Science News  





. Antibodies Take Evolutionary Leaps To Fight Microbes

"As the planet warms, infectious diseases may be one the biggest threats to human survival," - Weissmann.
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 13, 2009
With cold and flu season in full swing, the fact that viruses and bacteria rapidly evolve is apparent with every sneeze, sniffle, and cough. A new report in the January 2009 issue of The FASEB Journal, explains for the first time how humans keep up with microbes by rearranging the genes that make antibodies to foreign invaders. This research fills a significant gap in our understanding of how the immune system helps us survive.

"We've known for a long time that our antibody-forming system adapts itself to every microbe we encounter," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "but what we didn't understand fully is exactly how this happens. Now that we know, we can begin to find ways to manipulate this process so illnesses can be prevented or made significantly less dangerous."

When the body encounters a foreign invader, like a virus or bacterium, it immediately begins to find a way to neutralize it by means of cellular or antibody-mediated defenses. Part of the process involves tailoring the genes that code for antibodies to specific viruses or bacteria.

Researchers have known that this involves two types of genetic manipulation. One type changes a single gene at a time, and the other type changes multiple genes at the same time. In the report, scientists from Wayne State University in Detroit describe how multiple genes can be modified simultaneously to make the "evolutionary leap" necessary to stave off infection.

The basic setup of the experiment treated DNA responsible for making antibody molecules with an enzyme, called activation-induced deaminase, while the DNA was being copied by RNA polymerase. Like a scanner, RNA polymerase moves across the DNA to copy it.

When this scanning process moved smoothly, there were either single mutations or no mutations. When the researchers made the RNA polymerase stall along the DNA (under certain conditions), it caused several mutations at once (cluster mutations) in the DNA, adapting our antibodies for a rapid and effective response to a new microbial invader.

"As the planet warms, infectious diseases may be one the biggest threats to human survival," Weissmann added. "Nowadays, mosquitoes, parasites and viruses cause diseases in the United States that were once isolated to warmer parts of the world. They evolve, and - a la Darwin - so does our immune system each time we meet a new microbial invader."

Article details: Chandrika Canugovi, Mala Samaranayake, and Ashok S. Bhagwat. Transcriptional pausing and stalling causes multiple clustered mutations by human activation-induced deaminase. FASEB J. 2009 23: 34-44.

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Pink iguanas discovered on Galapagos Islands
Quito (AFP) Jan 5, 2009
A team of Ecuadoran and Italian researchers have discovered a unique species of pink land iguanas living on the Galapagos Islands, the scientist who wrote the report told AFP.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Ice closes German rivers to shipping: authorities
  • One dead, 46 missing in Guinea Bissau capsize: navy
  • Mourning for 19 dead, 23 still missing after Costa Rica quake
  • Can Nature's Leading Indicators Presage Environmental Disaster

  • Sequence Matters In Droughts And Floods
  • The earth's magnetic field impacts climate: Danish study
  • Decline Of Carbon Dioxide-Gobbling Plankton Coincided With Ancient Global Cooling
  • Australian military warns of climate conflict: report

  • Mapping In A One Meter Sea Level Rise
  • DMCii and DynAgra Help Farmers Control Costs And Boost Yields
  • Malaysia uses satellite to fight illegal logging: report
  • India To Launch Own Online Earth Browser Dubbed Bhuvan

  • Analysis: The Gazprom-Ukraine dispute
  • Analysis: Central Asian energy in 2009
  • Analysis: African oil faces challenges
  • New technique 'banks' wind farm energy

  • Structure Mediating Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance Identified
  • Fighting AIDS was bright spot of Bush presidency
  • China urges increased vigilance against bird flu during holiday
  • China steps up checks after bird flu death

  • Removing invasive species on remote island unleashed disaster
  • Researchers First To See Reactive Oxygen Species In Vital Enzyme
  • Antibodies Take Evolutionary Leaps To Fight Microbes
  • Asian, US police meet on tackling wildlife crime

  • Polarized Light Pollution Leads Animals Astray
  • Carbon Rich Soil Could Increase Mercury Levels
  • California Cuts Out The Waste At Landfills
  • 'Red tide' linked to nutrient pollution

  • First Americans Arrived As Two Separate Migrations Says New Genetic Evidence
  • Space-age probe may help save eyesight
  • Stevie Wonder looking for gadgets for the blind
  • How Neanderthal Got Whacked By Modern Humans

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement