Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Researchers Reveal the Clearest New Pictures of Immune Cells

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists have revealed new images which provide the clearest picture yet of how white blood immune cells attack viral infections and tumours.

They show how the cells, which are responsible for fighting infections and cancer in the human body, change the organisation of their surface molecules, when activated by a type of protein found on viral-infected or tumour cells.

Professor Daniel Davis, who has been leading the investigation into the immune cells, known as natural killers, said the work could provide important clues for tackling disease.

The research, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), reveals the proteins at the surface of immune cells are not evenly spaced but grouped in clusters - a bit like stars bunched together in galaxies.

Professor Davis, Director of Research at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), a partnership between the University and two pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca, said: “This is the first time scientists have looked at how these immune cells work at such a high resolution. The surprising thing was that these new pictures revealed that immune cell surfaces alter at this scale – the nano scale – which could perhaps change their ability to be activated in a subsequent encounter with a diseased cell.

 “We have shown that immune cell proteins are not evenly distributed as once thought, but instead they are grouped in very small clumps – a bit like if you were an astronomer looking at clusters of stars in the Universe and you would notice that they were grouped in clusters.

“We studied how these clusters or proteins change when the immune cells are switched on – to kill diseased cells. Looking at our cells in this much detail gives us a greater understanding about how the immune system works and could provide useful clues for developing drugs to target disease in the future.”

Until now the limitations of light microscopy have prevented a clear understanding of how immune cells detect other cells as being diseased or healthy.

The team used high quality, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to view the cells in blood samples in their laboratory to create the still images published in the journal Science Signalling this week.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Finding Should Enhance Treatments that Stop Immune System Attacks
Research published in the journal Immunity describes how regulatory T cells can cure inflammatory disease.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Scientific News
Developing Drug Resistance may be a Matter of Diversity for Tuberculosis
Researchers have probed the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to learn more about how individual bacterial cells change and adapt while in the human body.
Surprising Trait Found in Anti-HIV Antibodies
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have new weapons in the fight against HIV.
Some Gut Microbes May Be Keystones of Health
University of Oregon scientists have found that strength in numbers doesn’t hold true for microbes in the intestines. A minority population of the right type might hold the key to regulating good health.
Essential Component of Antiviral Defense Identified
Infectious disease researchers at the University of Georgia have identified a signaling protein critical for host defense against influenza infection.
Single Vaccine for Chikungunya, Related Viruses May be Possible
What if a single vaccine could protect people from infection by many different viruses? That concept is a step closer to reality.
Is Allergy the Price We Pay for Our Immunity to Parasites?
New findings help demonstrate the evolutionary basis for allergy.
Blocking the Transmission Of Malaria Parasites
Vaccine candidate administered for the first time in humans in a phase I clinical trial led by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, with partners Imaxio and GSK.
Mucus – the First Line of Defence
Researchers reveal the important role of mucus in building a good defence against invaders.
Antibody Targets Key Cancer Marker
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have created a molecular structure that attaches to a molecule on highly aggressive brain cancer and causes tumors to light up in a scanning machine.
Gene-Edited Immune Cells Treat ‘Incurable’ Leukaemia
A new treatment that uses ‘molecular scissors’ to edit genes and create designer immune cells programmed to hunt out and kill drug resistant leukaemia has been used at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos