A central element of the immune system has remained constant through more than 400 million years of evolution, according to new research at National Jewish Health. In the September 29, 2011, online version of the journal Immunity, the researchers report that T-cell receptors from mice continue to function even when pieces of shark, frog and trout receptors are substituted in. The function of the chimeric receptors depends on a few crucial amino acids, found also in humans, that help the T-cell receptor bind to MHC molecules presenting antigens.
“These findings prove a hypothesis first proposed 40 years ago,” said senior author Laurent Gapin, PhD, associate professor of immunology in the Integrated Deparemtn of Immunology at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver. “Even though mammals, amphibians and cartilaginous fish last shared a common ancestor more than 400 million years ago, they continue to share an element of their T-cell receptors, indicating that the T cell-MHC interaction arose early in the evolution of the immune system, and is central to its function.”
T-cells and their operation is a highly conserved trait. They are the forward defense and relatively adaptive first defense against malignant invaders. The T-cell receptor identifies pathogens that pose a threat to the system. The receptor only has to intercept one pathogen to direct the response of the immune system to start to attack all such invaders.Their function is not perfect, animals still succumb to disease – the article puts it like this “They recognize antigens only when they are held by MHC molecules on the surfaces of other cells, much as a hotdog bun (MHC molecule) holds a hotdog (antigen)”. Yet they function so well that tinkering with them would mean nature ( evolution) would have to come up with the antigen fighting qualities of a universal gear. It terms of energy expenditure why create several kinds of improvisations on that gear when it does work so well. Unfortunately while that gear may evolve some new functions over time, it may never catch up with the rate at which new pathogens evolve.
This discovery might also contribute to research on further understanding organ transplant rejection since T-cells can see the new organ as hostile to the host.
Anti-Obama sign in Uptown neighborhood draws controversy. Just the usual wacky stuff from a conservative-libertarian. Some of the neighbors don’t like them, while some could care less. Digby defends the wacko’s right to free speech-expression. Even jerks have a right to free speech. She does note that the signs do have a racist/anti-Semitic tint to them as you can see in the sign below. If the guy is not a Glenn beck fan it is an awfully big coincidence that he and beck are on exactly the same page – “Puppet master”: Beck’s attacks on Soros are steeped in anti-Semitic stereotypes and here – Media Matters Revisits Right-Wing Media Prophesies That Obama Is The Antichrist. I agree with Digby completely on the guy’s rights. That doesn’t mean he and liked minded sheeple should not be held to account on facts and accuracy of their claims. His and Beck’s are so far out that having a nice civil chat would be about as productive as talking to a cinder-block wall.
Anyone writing a book about overrated academia should be sure to include Victor Davis Hanson. One of the laziest “thinkers” in America who rightly belongs where he is, on wing-nut welfare at the Hoover Institute – The eternal wretchedness of Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson sounds smarter than Matt Drudge, but he is no less a race baiter.
Vast deposits of rare-earth and critical minerals found in Afghanistan by U.S. geologists under military cover could solve world shortages and get the country off opium and Taliban control
I saw a PBS documentary on the Taliban a few years ago ( I’d provide a link if I could find one). They are a nightmare. Their human rights abuses include murder, torture and maiming of women. In their spare time they have destroyed priceless centuries old antiquities because they believe them to be heretical. Many if not most Afghans hate the Taliban. probably too late now but it might have been for the best if BushCo had established a Free Afghanistan 10 years ago and left the Taliban to grow their opium and kill each other in their own little corner of the country.
The Wallflowers – 6th Avenue Heartache