Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Research team discovers 'immune gene' in Neanderthals
by Staff Writers
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Nov 26, 2013


This is professor Dr. Norbert Koch from the Institute for Genetics, Department of Immunobiology at the University of Bonn. Credit: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn.

A research group at Bonn University and international collaborators discovered a novel receptor, which allows the immune system of modern humans to recognize dangerous invaders, and subsequently elicits an immune response.

The blueprint for this advantageous structure was in addition identified in the genome of Neanderthals, hinting at its origin.

The receptor provided these early humans with immunity against local diseases. The presence of this receptor in Europeans but its absence in early men suggests that it was inherited from Neanderthals. The results have been published in advance online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The printed edition is expected in a following issue.

When pathogens infect the human body, the immune system identifies and attacks dangerous invaders. During evolution, an efficient defence system developed, which vaguely resembles methods used by secret agents. With the help of certain genes, the human leukocyte antigen system (HLA) produces receptors that assess the risk rate of the pathogens using their profile which has just eight amino acids.

"This function can be compared to a text which is identified by a spy as being suspicious, based on just a few letters of a word," says Prof. Dr. Norbert Koch from the Institute for Genetics, Department of Immunobiology at the University of Bonn.

Immune System Scans the Amino Acids of the Pathogens
In order to decipher this message, the immune system breaks down the invaders proteins into peptides and subsequently scans a proportion of the peptides for their amino acid sequences.

Up until now, a total of three different peptide receptors of more than 1000 different manifestations were known, which in humans can read the telltale letter combinations. "This variety is needed so that the immune system can rate the entire spectrum of pathogens relevant for humans," explains Prof. Koch.

A fourth receptor, or another "spy", has now been found by an international team of scientists from the University of Dusseldorf, the Technical University of Munich, Jacobs University Bremen and Cambridge University under the leadership of the immunobiologists at the University of Bonn.

This receptor, which is abbreviated as "HLA-DRaDPb", consists of the combination of subunits of already known receptors. Scientists compared the gene sequence, which encodes the discovered receptor, with data bases and determined that an estimated two-thirds of Europeans carry this important structure.

Even Prof. Koch carries the blueprint for this "spy", as one of his students found out by sequencing his DNA. Scientists were nonetheless surprised to learn that the gene sequence required for this receptor is rare in people in southern Africa, the region known as the cradle of mankind.

"When early man, the ancestor of today's humans, left Africa and migrated a few hundred thousand years ago to Europe, he did not yet have this receptor," says Prof. Koch.

Modern Man Owes Receptor to Neanderthals
Prof. Dr. Svante Paabo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig played a leading role in 2010 in sequencing and presenting the Neanderthal genome. So, scientists examined whether Neanderthals as an example of early men had the key gene sequence which contains the blueprint for the receptor.

Dr. Sebastian Temme, who conducted a major part of the experimental work, compiled, together with colleagues from Dusseldorf, the sequence of the Neanderthal genome, from small fragments obtained from the Neanderthal data base. "The identified Neanderthal gene sequence is almost identical with that of modern humans," concludes Prof. Koch.

Neanderthals probably lived many hundreds of thousands of years in Europe during which time they developed the HLA receptor that provided them with immunity against many pathogens. This means that different to our ancestors from Africa, the Neanderthals which were resident in Europe, carried this receptor on their immune cells.

That was a distinct evolutionary advantage," says the immunobiologist from the University of Bonn, who presumes that we modern humans in Europe owe this advantageous receptor to the Neanderthals.

A novel family of human leukocyte antigen class II receptors may have its origin in archaic human species, Journal of Biological Chemistry, DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.515767

.


Related Links
University of Bonn
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Ancient, modern DNA tell story of first humans in the Americas
Champaign IL (SPX) Nov 20, 2013
of Illinois anthropology professor Ripan Malhi looks to DNA to tell the story of how ancient humans first came to the Americas and what happened to them once they were here. He will share some of his findings at the meeting, "Ancient DNA: The First Three Decades," at The Royal Society in London. Malhi, an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois, will describe his collabo ... read more


ABOUT US
Overseas Philippine workers a typhoon lifeline

Mental trauma haunts Philippines typhoon survivors

Informal supply chains help feed typhoon survivors

Manila says typhoon shows need for US-Philippine military accord

ABOUT US
What might recyclable satellites look like?

Overcoming Brittleness: New Insights into Bulk Metallic Glass

SlipChip Counts Molecules with Chemistry and a Cell Phone

NASA Instrument Determines Hazards of Deep-Space Radiation

ABOUT US
EU threatens six countries with illegal fishing sanctions

Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs -- and offers solution

Rice scientists ID new catalyst for cleanup of nitrites

Pacific faces big economic losses from climate change: ADB

ABOUT US
WTO backs EU in seal ban battle with Canada and Norway

New study determines more accurate method to date tropical glacier moraines

Greenpeace crew can leave Russia if migration issue fixed: official

Global warming in the Canadian Arctic

ABOUT US
Impacts of plant invasions become less robust over time

New bale unroller design deemed effective

Researchers test effects of LEDs on leaf lettuce

High tunnel, open-field production systems compared for lettuce, tomato

ABOUT US
18,000 Indonesians flee erupting volcano

Early-career investigator discovers current volcanic activity under West Antarctica

Thousands flee as Indonesia volcano erupts eight times

Prosecutors probe Sardinia flash flood deaths

ABOUT US
Chinese businessman charged in Zambia graft case

Somalia troops boosted as al-Shabaab fights on

Chinese candidate a Shanghai surprise in Mali polls

Nigerian troops claim nine Boko Haram members killed

ABOUT US
Investments in Aging Biology Research will Pay Longevity Dividend

Research team discovers 'immune gene' in Neanderthals

Ancient, modern DNA tell story of first humans in the Americas

DNA of early hominid found to include 'mystery' early genes




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. 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 Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement