The making of memory B cells and long-term immune responses

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IMAGE: B cell differentiation in GC
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Credit: Osaka University

Osaka, Japan — The current COVID-19 climate has made vaccines, antibodies, and immune responses topics of everyday conversation. Now, it isn’t just immunologists who want to know how our bodies respond to re-infections months, years, or sometimes decades after an initial immune response. A new study by Tomohiro Kurosaki at Osaka University shows that this ability requires Bach2, a protein that regulates the expression of genes needed to instruct activated B cells under selection to become memory B cells.

Like most biological processes, immune responses are complicated. They involve numerous types of cells and proteins, performing precise step-by-step processes. And of course, we don’t know all of them yet. For example, memory B cells are a type of white blood cell that are created in lymph nodes or spleens during an infection. They stick around for years and allow

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Recent findings suggest the repeated evolution of similar traits in island lizards was not channelled by developmental responses to the environment, as commonly thought — ScienceDaily

Scientists have challenged a popular theory behind the evolution of similar traits in island lizards, in a study published recently in eLife.

The findings in Greater Antillean Anolis lizards provide insights on why creatures often evolve similar physical features independently when living in similar habitats. They suggest that the role of developmental plasticity in shaping adaptive evolution may be less important than commonly thought.

Developmental plasticity refers to how development responds to the environment, in particular the way that an organism’s genetic constitution (or genotype) interacts with its environment during development to produce a particular set of characteristics (or phenotype).

“Anolis lizards that live on all four of the Greater Antillean islands have independently and repeatedly evolved six different body types for maneuvering through their given habitat,” says lead author Nathalie Feiner, Researcher at the Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden. “As a result, they make a great model

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Using new technology to study antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals

Using a technology called VirScan to study coronavirus antibody responses in a large cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected and control individuals, researchers identified epitopes recognized by a large fraction of COVID-19 patients, epitopes cross-reactive with antibodies developed in response to other human coronaviruses, and 10 epitopes likely recognized by neutralizing antibodies.

They used this VirScan data to design a tool for rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection. The clinical course of COVID-19 is notable for its extreme variability. Understanding the factors influencing this spectrum of outcomes – including the variable human immune – is an area of focus.

Ellen Shrock and colleagues used a technology known as VirScan – a tool members of the same group developed previously – to explore the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 and other human coronaviruses in more than 200 COVID-19 patients and nearly 200 pre-COVID-19 era controls.

Blood serum from COVID-19

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