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Intrigue at the Immune Synapse - Assignment Example

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The communication at the immune synapse is essential because it allows the immune cell to recognize another cell as either a normal, healthy cell or an abnormal, sick, infected cell. This then stimulates the immune cell to activate an immune response to kill the sick cell. If…
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Intrigue at the Immune Synapse
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Download file to see previous pages This also allows the persistence of infectious organisms inside cells, leading to chronic infections.
The development of high-resolution microscopy techniques and computer enhancement of previously used imaging methods to create three-dimensional images has allowed visualization and observation of immune synapses.
5. The author states, ‘virtually all the surface (cytoplasmic membrane) proteins involved in immune cells’ recognition of disease (pathogens) have been identified and named.” If this is true, then why is the immune synapse such a profound discovery?
Although the proteins involved have been identified and named, their roles and how they bring about communication between immune cells has not been entirely discovered. These discoveries, including that on the immune synapse, can be made by observing or ‘just watching’ the cells and proteins at work.
The team of Charles A. Janeway, Jr., at Yale University performed the following experiment in 1988: they fitted T cells tightly into the pores of a membrane, which was then immersed in a solution. A stimulant to activate T cells was added to the solution on only 1 side of the membrane. They then detected proteins secreted by activated T cells in the solution containing the stimulant, but the proteins were absent in the stimulant-free solution on the other side of the membrane. This experiment demonstrated the ability of immune cells to secrete proteins after activation specifically in the direction of the stimulant.
The neuronal and immune synapses are similar as they both involve communication and signal transduction between two cells through the interaction and activity of specific proteins. Neuronal and immune synapses also seem to share some common proteins, such as the Agrin protein and the Neuropilin-1 receptor. The synapse structure of both cell types forms a bull’s-eye pattern. However, they have differences too. Neuronal ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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