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Showing results 81-86 of 86 for 'Immune system'


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    Researchers Discover 10 New Immune Systems in Bacteria

    Bacteria have been defending themselves from phages—viruses that attack bacterial cells—for billions of years, and unlocking the immune mechanisms they use to protect themselves has led to the development of powerful molecular biology tools such as restriction enzymes and CRISPR-Cas9. Now, researchers report in Science today (January 25) that they have discovered 10 more immune systems that bacteria use to protect themselves against phages and plasmids, opening up the possibility to add new tools to the molecular biology toolbox.

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    Bacterial Immune Systems Take the Stage

    Until a decade ago, scientists were not aware that bacteria had complex immune systems that could keep up with the pace of evolution in viruses called phages that infect bacteria. That changed with the discovery of what is now the most famous bacterial immune mechanism: CRISPR. This is a natural gene editor that has revolutionized the world of biological research in thousands of labs around the world. Researchers now understand that most microorganisms have sophisticated immune systems of which CRISPR is just one element; but there has been no good way to identify these systems.

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    Coaxing the Immune System to Fight Cancer

    Immuno therapy was once the black sheep of cancer research. Originally conceived over a century ago, it aims to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. That’s a very different approach than chemotherapy, which essentially poisons tumors.

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    Cells Talk and Help One Another via Tiny Tube Networks

    When the physician and scientist Emil Lou was an oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center about a decade ago, he was regularly troubled by the sight of something small but unidentifiable in his cancer-cell cultures. Looking through the microscope, he said, he “kept finding these long, thin translucent lines,” about 50 nanometers wide and 150 to 200 microns long, extending between cells in the culture. He called on the world-class cell biologists in his building to explain these observations, but nobody was sure what they were looking at. Finally, after delving into the literature, Lou realized that the lines matched what Hans-Hermann Gerdes’ group at the University of Heidelberg had described as “nanotubular highways” or “tunneling nanotubes” (TNTs) in a 2004 paper in Science.

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