Scientists advance cutting edge of immunology through study of macrophages

Oct 05, 2012

(Phys.org)—Macrophages are heavy hitters of the immune system. Their name literally means "to eat large objects." They are critical members of the body's defense team, such as in the lungs where they ingest invading microorganisms and at wound sites where they rush in and secrete coagulation factors that help form scabs. Macrophages also scavenge the body to find, digest, and recycle cell debris such as worn out red blood cells.

Researchers recently gained new knowledge about how are activated by studying a leukemic line of macrophages called RAW 264.7 that were treated with from Salmonella. The team used high-throughput mass spectrometers and custom software tools at EMSL to identify proteins (using proteomics analyses) and metabolites (using metabolomics analyses) that the cells produced under different conditions, as well as the RNAs (using transcriptomics analyses) that led to the proteins being expressed. They then built a of all of the known for RAW 264.7. The proteomic, metabolomic, and transcriptomic data were incorporated into the metabolic model, which improved the effectiveness of the model to predict new functions for metabolites in macrophages. Researchers found that the simple sugar, glucose, and the amino acid, arginine, played activating roles in macrophage defense mechanisms, while the amino acid, tryptophan, and vitamin D had an immune suppressive effect.

This study and its methodology significantly advance the cutting edge of immunology and disease prevention. For example, traditional therapies target invading bacteria. The research team's novel work may, however, lead to new therapy options such as using metabolic approaches to activate macrophages in response to an invader and to suppress macrophages when the threat is neutralized. In addition, novel immunotherapeutic drugs could be designed to mimic the activation or inhibition of specific metabolic pathways.

Explore further: Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

More information: Bordbar A, ML Mo, ES Nakayasu, AC Schrimpe-Rutledge, YM Kim, TO Metz, MB Jones, BC Frank, RD Smith, SN Peterson, DE Hyduke, JN Adkins, BO Palsson. 2012. "Model-driven multi-omic data analysis elucidates metabolic immunomodulators of macrophage activation." Molecular Systems Biology 8:558. DOI:10.1038/msb.2012.21

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Predicting immune system responses to various stimuli

Apr 14, 2011

Just like some people, macrophages—tiny cells that provide the immune system with a primary line of defense against pathogens—reveal a lot about themselves when challenged. Computer scientists and ...

Recommended for you

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

Apr 17, 2014

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...