Tag: Immune System

Microscope image of filamentation in Candida albicans with and without amphotericin B resistance

Understanding the evolution of drug resistance points to novel strategy for developing better antimicrobials

October 29, 2013

The most common fungal pathogen in humans, Candida albicans, rarely develops resistance to the antifungal drug amphotericin B (AmB).  This has been puzzling as the drug has been in clinical use for over 50 years. Whitehead Institute scientists have now discovered why.  The genetic mutations that enable certain strains of C. albicans to resist AmB simultaneously render it highly susceptible to environmental stressors and disarm its virulence factors.

Image showing uninfected B cells and B cells infected with influenza

Flu virus wipes out immune system’s first responders to establish infection

October 19, 2013

Revealing influenza’s truly insidious nature, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered that the virus is able to infect its host by first killing off the cells of the immune system that are actually best equipped to neutralize the virus.

Image of mouse lymph node

Helper cells aptly named in battle with invading pathogens

August 8, 2013

By tracking the previously unknown movements of a set of specialized cells, Whitehead Institute scientists are shedding new light on how the immune system mounts a successful defense against hostile, ever-changing invaders.

Representation of MHV-68

Modified antibodies trigger immune response, point to novel vaccine design strategies

January 7, 2013

In an approach with the potential to aid therapeutic vaccine development, Whitehead Institute scientists have shown that enzymatically modified antibodies can be used to generate highly targeted, potent responses from cells of the immune system.

Electron micrograph of Ebola virus.

Scientists identify point of entry for deadly Ebola virus

August 24, 2011

Using an unusual human cell line of this type, Whitehead Institute researchers and their collaborators performed a genetic screen and identified a protein used by Ebola virus to gain entry into cells and begin replicating. The discovery may offer a new approach for the development of antiviral therapeutics.

Protein unmasks pathogenic fungi to activate immune response

August 8, 2011

Whitehead Institute researchers have uncovered a novel association between two fungal recognition receptors on the surface of certain immune cells, called macrophages.  The interaction of these receptors (dectin-1 and galectin-3) sheds new light on how the innate immune system discriminates between non-pathogenic and pathogenic fungi.

Novel method could improve the performance of proteins used therapeutically

March 9, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have created a method that uses the enzyme sortase A to site-specifically modify proteins. Using this technique, researchers were able to increase potency, slow the metabolism, and improve thermal stability of several proteins.

New model tracks the immune response to a T

April 8, 2010

Using T cells primed for the infectious disease toxoplasmosis, Whitehead Institute researchers have created novel mouse models of the immune system that more accurately reflect how immune cells actually respond to pathogens in their presence.

Schematic of YOD1's role

Jamming cell’s protein disposal shows how system works

October 26, 2009

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that a protein known as YOD1 plays a critical role in the disposal of misfolded cellular proteins. The researchers identified YOD1’s role by blocking its function, a manipulation that halts the elimination of errant proteins entirely. The finding should help bring greater understanding to this vital but complex cellular process.

Photos of healthy greater wax moths and those killed by fungus

The Hsp90-antifungal combo, please: Compromising fungi in the immunocompromised

February 9, 2009

Even the most drug-resistant fungi can be eradicated in multiple in vitro and in vivo models using a lethal combination of an antifungal agent and inhibition of a specific heat shock protein (Hsp90). Such findings could point to a novel approach for the development of future antifungal therapies for patients with compromised immune systems, including HIV, chemotherapy, and organ transfer patients.

Scientists pinpoint immune system targets in complex pathogens

December 5, 2008

Scientists have long struggled for details on how the immune system responds to complex pathogens such as the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and herpes viruses. Adapting an existing technology, researchers have pinpointed precise molecular targets that these pathogens present to signal T cells.

Schematic of microengraved slide use

Protein-printing technique gives snapshots of immune system defense

November 3, 2008

A new technique lets researchers, for the first time, look at single white blood cells and measure specific characteristics of the set of antibodies they produce when the body is under attack.

Pages

© Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research         Nine Cambridge Center    Cambridge, MA 02142