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Concept: Adaptive immune system


Tasmanian devil joeys, like other marsupials, are born at a very early stage of development, prior to the development of their adaptive immune system, yet survive in a pathogen-laden pouch and burrow. Antimicrobial peptides, called cathelicidins, which provide innate immune protection during early life, are expressed in the pouch lining, skin and milk of devil dams. These peptides are active against pathogens identified in the pouch microbiome. Of the six characterised cathelicidins, Saha-CATH5 and 6 have broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and are capable of killing problematic human pathogens including methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant E. faecalis, while Saha-CATH3 is active against fungi. Saha-CATH5 and 6 were toxic to human A549 cells at 500 μg/mL, which is over seven times the concentration required to kill pathogens. The remaining devil cathelicidins were not active against tested bacterial or fungal strains, but are widely expressed throughout the body, such as in immune tissues, in digestive, respiratory and reproductive tracts, and in the milk and pouch, which indicates that they are likely also important components of the devil immune system. Our results suggest cathelicidins play a role in protecting naive young during pouch life by passive immune transfer in the milk and may modulate pouch microbe populations to reduce potential pathogens.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Microbiology, Innate immune system, Adaptive immune system, Marsupial, Tasmanian Devil, Dasyuridae


The innate immune system is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In contrast, the role of adaptive immunity in AD remains largely unknown. However, numerous clinical trials are testing vaccination strategies for AD, suggesting that T and B cells play a pivotal role in this disease. To test the hypothesis that adaptive immunity influences AD pathogenesis, we generated an immune-deficient AD mouse model that lacks T, B, and natural killer (NK) cells. The resulting “Rag-5xfAD” mice exhibit a greater than twofold increase in β-amyloid (Aβ) pathology. Gene expression analysis of the brain implicates altered innate and adaptive immune pathways, including changes in cytokine/chemokine signaling and decreased Ig-mediated processes. Neuroinflammation is also greatly exacerbated in Rag-5xfAD mice as indicated by a shift in microglial phenotype, increased cytokine production, and reduced phagocytic capacity. In contrast, immune-intact 5xfAD mice exhibit elevated levels of nonamyloid reactive IgGs in association with microglia, and treatment of Rag-5xfAD mice or microglial cells with preimmune IgG enhances Aβ clearance. Last, we performed bone marrow transplantation studies in Rag-5xfAD mice, revealing that replacement of these missing adaptive immune populations can dramatically reduce AD pathology. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that adaptive immune cell populations play an important role in restraining AD pathology. In contrast, depletion of B cells and their appropriate activation by T cells leads to a loss of adaptive-innate immunity cross talk and accelerated disease progression.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Gene, Vaccination, Innate immune system, Humoral immunity, Adaptive immune system, T cell


NLRs (nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich-repeat-containing receptors; NOD-like receptors) are a class of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) that respond to host perturbation from either infectious agents or cellular stress. The function of most NLR family members has not been characterized and their role in instructing adaptive immune responses remains unclear. NLRP10 (also known as PYNOD, NALP10, PAN5 and NOD8) is the only NLR lacking the putative ligand-binding leucine-rich-repeat domain, and has been postulated to be a negative regulator of other NLR members, including NLRP3 (refs 4-6). We did not find evidence that NLRP10 functions through an inflammasome to regulate caspase-1 activity nor that it regulates other inflammasomes. Instead, Nlrp10(-/-) mice had a profound defect in helper T-cell-driven immune responses to a diverse array of adjuvants, including lipopolysaccharide, aluminium hydroxide and complete Freund’s adjuvant. Adaptive immunity was impaired in the absence of NLRP10 because of a dendritic cell (DC) intrinsic defect in emigration from inflamed tissues, whereas upregulation of DC costimulatory molecules and chemotaxis to CCR7-dependent and -independent ligands remained intact. The loss of antigen transport to the draining lymph nodes by a subset of migratory DCs resulted in an almost absolute loss in naive CD4(+) T-cell priming, highlighting the critical link between diverse innate immune stimulation, NLRP10 activity and the immune function of mature DCs.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Innate immune system, Immunology, Humoral immunity, Adaptive immune system, Dendritic cell, Immunologic adjuvant


The innate immune system plays important roles in a number of disparate processes. Foremost, innate immunity is a first responder to invasion by pathogens and triggers early defensive responses and recruits the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system also responds to endogenous damage signals that arise from tissue injury. Recently it has been found that innate immunity plays an important role in neuroprotection against ischemic stroke through the activation of the primary innate immune receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Using several large-scale transcriptomic data sets from mouse and mouse macrophage studies we identified targets predicted to be important in controlling innate immune processes initiated by TLR activation. Targets were identified as genes with high betweenness centrality, so-called bottlenecks, in networks inferred from statistical associations between gene expression patterns. A small set of putative bottlenecks were identified in each of the data sets investigated including interferon-stimulated genes (Ifit1, Ifi47, Tgtp and Oasl2) as well as genes uncharacterized in immune responses (Axud1 and Ppp1r15a). We further validated one of these targets, Ifit1, in mouse macrophages by showing that silencing it suppresses induction of predicted downstream genes by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated TLR4 activation through an unknown direct or indirect mechanism. Our study demonstrates the utility of network analysis for identification of interesting targets related to innate immune function, and highlights that Ifit1 can exert a positive regulatory effect on downstream genes.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Innate immune system, Toll-like receptor, Humoral immunity, Immunity, Adaptive immune system, Pattern recognition receptor


Newborns display distinct immune responses, leaving them vulnerable to infections and impairing immunization. Targeting newborn dendritic cells (DCs), which integrate vaccine signals into adaptive immune responses, might enable development of age-specific vaccine formulations to overcome suboptimal immunization.

Concepts: Immune system, Infant, Vaccination, Innate immune system, Toll-like receptor, Immunology, Adaptive immune system, Dendritic cell


The immune system has many adaptive and dynamic components that are regulated to ensure appropriate, precise and rapid response to a foreign pathogen. A delayed or inadequate immune response can lead to prolonged disease, while an excessive or under-regulated response can lead to autoimmunity. The cytokine, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and its receptor IL-2R play an important role in maintaining this balance.The IL-2 receptor transduces pSTAT5 signal through both the intermediate and high affinity receptors, which differ from each other by the presence of CD25 chain in IL-2 receptor. We present experimental data on the kinetics of pSTAT5 signalling through both of the receptors and develop a model that captures this kinetics. We then use this model to parameterize key aspects of two additional models in which we propose and study two different mechanisms by which IL-2 receptor can transduce distinct signals leading to either an activated or a non-activated cell state. We speculate that this initial state differentiation, perhaps enhanced by downstream feedbacks, may eventually lead to differential cell fates.Our result shows that non-linear dynamical models can suggest resolution of a puzzling array of seemingly contradictory experimental results on IL-2 effect on proliferation and differentiation of T-cells.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Hormone, Immunology, Adaptive immune system, Cell signaling


Studying the phenomenon of cellular senescence has been hindered by the lack of senescence-specific markers. As such, detection of proteins informally associated with senescence accompanies the use of senescence-associated β-galactosidase as a collection of semiselective markers to monitor the presence of senescent cells. To identify novel biomarkers of senescence, we immunized BALB/c mice with senescent mouse lung fibroblasts and screened for antibodies that recognized senescence-associated cell-surface antigens by FACS analysis and a newly developed cell-based ELISA. The majority of antibodies that we isolated, cloned, and sequenced belonged to the IgM isotype of the innate immune system. In-depth characterization of one of these monoclonal, polyreactive natural antibodies, the IgM clone 9H4, revealed its ability to recognize the intermediate filament vimentin. By using 9H4, we observed that senescent primary human fibroblasts express vimentin on their cell surface, and MS analysis revealed a posttranslational modification on cysteine 328 (C328) by the oxidative adduct malondialdehyde (MDA). Moreover, elevated levels of secreted MDA-modified vimentin were detected in the plasma of aged senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 mice, which are known to have deregulated reactive oxygen species metabolism and accelerated aging. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that humoral innate immunity may recognize senescent cells by the presence of membrane-bound MDA-vimentin, presumably as part of a senescence eradication mechanism that may become impaired with age and result in senescent cell accumulation.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Senescence, Innate immune system, Immunology, Immunity, Adaptive immune system, Ageing


Lymphoid organs, in which antigen presenting cells (APCs) are in close proximity to T cells, are the ideal microenvironment for efficient priming and amplification of T-cell responses. However, the systemic delivery of vaccine antigens into dendritic cells (DCs) is hampered by various technical challenges. Here we show that DCs can be targeted precisely and effectively in vivo using intravenously administered RNA-lipoplexes (RNA-LPX) based on well-known lipid carriers by optimally adjusting net charge, without the need for functionalization of particles with molecular ligands. The LPX protects RNA from extracellular ribonucleases and mediates its efficient uptake and expression of the encoded antigen by DC populations and macrophages in various lymphoid compartments. RNA-LPX triggers interferon-α (IFNα) release by plasmacytoid DCs and macrophages. Consequently, DC maturation in situ and inflammatory immune mechanisms reminiscent of those in the early systemic phase of viral infection are activated. We show that RNA-LPX encoding viral or mutant neo-antigens or endogenous self-antigens induce strong effector and memory T-cell responses, and mediate potent IFNα-dependent rejection of progressive tumours. A phase I dose-escalation trial testing RNA-LPX that encode shared tumour antigens is ongoing. In the first three melanoma patients treated at a low-dose level, IFNα and strong antigen-specific T-cell responses were induced, supporting the identified mode of action and potency. As any polypeptide-based antigen can be encoded as RNA, RNA-LPX represent a universally applicable vaccine class for systemic DC targeting and synchronized induction of both highly potent adaptive as well as type-I-IFN-mediated innate immune mechanisms for cancer immunotherapy.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, White blood cell, Bacteria, Adaptive immune system, Antigen, Cytotoxic T cell, Antigen-presenting cell


Today, the three classical biological explanations of the individual self–the immune system, the brain, the genome–are being challenged by the new field of microbiome research. Evidence shows that our resident microbes orchestrate the adaptive immune system, influence the brain, and contribute more gene functions than our own genome. The realization that humans are not individual, discrete entities but rather the outcome of ever-changing interactions with microorganisms has consequences beyond the biological disciplines. In particular, it calls into question the assumption that distinctive human traits set us apart from all other animals–and therefore also the traditional disciplinary divisions between the arts and the sciences.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Archaea, Natural selection, Bacteria, Organism, Species, Adaptive immune system


The current study examined the adaptive response to both endurance (END) and sprint interval training (SIT) in a group of twenty-one recreationally active adults. All participants completed three weeks (four days/ week) of both END (30 minutes at ~65% VO2peak work rate (WR) and SIT (eight, 20-second intervals at ~170% VO2peak WR separated by 10 seconds of active rest) following a randomized crossover study design with a three-month washout period between training interventions. While a main effect of training was observed for VO2peak, lactate threshold, and submaximal heart rate (HR), considerable variability was observed in the individual responses to both END and SIT. No significant positive relationships were observed between END and SIT for individual changes in any variable. Non-responses were determined using two times the typical error (TE) of measurement for VO2peak (0.107 L/min), lactate threshold (15.7 W), and submaximal HR (10.7bpm). Non-responders in VO2peak, lactate threshold, and submaximal HR were observed following both END and SIT, however, the individual patterns of response differed following END and SIT. Interestingly, all individuals responded in at least one variable when exposed to both END and SIT. These results suggest that the individual response to exercise training is highly variable following different training protocols and that the incidence of non-response to exercise training may be reduced by changing the training stimulus for non-responders to three weeks of END or SIT.

Concepts: Crossover study, Exercise, Adaptive immune system, Variable, Running, Interval training, Renaissance music, Adaptive response