Nav: Home

The importance of resting phases in B cell development

April 21, 2016

Everyone preparing for the London Marathon likely knows that to perform their best during the event, they need to rest up now. Research at the Babraham Institute just published in the journal Science describes a new mechanism through which B cells ensure that they rest up between intensive developmental events.

Just as our daily routine involves periods of activity, nourishment and rest, the cell cycle describes states that the cell progresses through leading to its division into two daughter cells. Like when we take a holiday, the cell can also pause and take a break after a cell division and this is what researchers call quiescence - a reversible sedentary state.

Researchers at the Institute took a deeper look into how B cells, the immune cells that make antibodies, progress through important developmental stages. In particular they looked at the role of two proteins and how these are able to impose rest periods (quiescence) on cells to ensure that developing B cells 'grow up' properly. The researchers showed that without these rest periods, B cells didn't survive to become functional immune cells. In mice, a 98% reduction of mature B cells was seen when the cells lacked these proteins.

Dr Alison Galloway, first author on the paper and postdoctoral researcher at the Babraham Institute, explained: "We found that the two proteins, RNA binding proteins ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2, promote cell quiescence by blocking the RNA messages telling the cells to start dividing again. In the same way that we find it hard to function without sleep, the B cells don't develop as they should if these cell cycle pauses are lost."

Dr Martin Turner, senior author on the paper and Head of the Lymphocyte Signalling and Development research programme at the Institute, commented: "Although roles for transcription factors in establishing quiescence have been established, the contribution of sequence-specific RNA binding proteins was unknown. Our findings shed light on the intricate control and coordination of the cell cycle and show that these binding proteins probably form part of a common mechanism to regulate quiescence, not just one specific to developing B cells."
This research was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, and project grants from the charity Bloodwise (previously Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research).

Babraham Institute

Related Immune Cells Articles:

Immunology: How ancestry shapes our immune cells
A genetic variant that is particularly prevalent in people of African ancestry confers protection against malaria.
Immune cells derived from specialised progenitors
Dendritic cells are gatekeepers of Immunity. Up to now dendritic cell subtypes were thought to develop from one common progenitor.
Comprehensive atlas of immune cells in renal cancer
Researchers from the University of Zurich have individually analyzed millions of immune cells in tumor samples from patients with renal cell carcinoma.
When liver immune cells turn bad
A high-fat diet and obesity turn 'hero' virus-fighting liver immune cells 'rogue,' leading to insulin resistance, a condition that often results in type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in Science Immunology.
New role for immune cells in preventing diabetes and hypertension
Immune cells which are reduced in number by obesity could be a new target to treat diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension that affect overweight people, according to a collaborative study between the University of Manchester, Lund University and the University of Salford.
Why male immune cells are from Mars and female cells are from Venus
Michigan State University researchers are the first to uncover reasons why a specific type of immune cell acts very differently in females compared to males while under stress, resulting in women being more susceptible to certain diseases.
Immune therapy scientists discover distinct cells that block cancer-fighting immune cells
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre scientists have discovered a distinct cell population in tumours that inhibits the body's immune response to fight cancer.
Opioids produce analgesia via immune cells
Opioids are the most powerful painkillers. Researchers at the Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin have now found that the analgesic effects of opioids are not exclusively mediated by opioid receptors in the brain, but can also be mediated via the activation of receptors in immune cells.
Oddly shaped immune cells cause fibrosis
Scientists at the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) at Osaka University, Japan, report a new group of monocytes they call SatM.
New system developed that can switch on immune cells to attack cancer cells
Researchers have developed an artificial structure that mimics the cell membrane, which can switch on immune cells to attack and destroy a designated target.

Related Immune Cells Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".