Scientists Develop Method To Track Immune System Enzyme In Live Animals
Immune System Enzyme
Scientists have created two mouse strains that will permit researchers to trace, in a live animal, the activity of an enzyme believed to play a crucial role both in the normal immune response as well as autoimmunity and B cell tumor development.
The enzyme, known as activation-induced cytidine deaminase or AID (which has no relation to the AIDS virus), is expressed by B cells, which are produced in the bone marrow and are responsible for making antibodies that attack foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. The enzyme enables the cells to respond with precision to the almost limitless types of invaders the body may encounter. Unfortunately, it also has a down side.
B cells constantly scan the body for foreign invaders, explains Rafael Casellas, Ph.D., an investigator in NIAMS' Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch and lead author of the paper. As B cells encounter foreign antigens from viruses, bacteria or allergens, they migrate to germinal centers