Epigenetic changes drive the fate of a B cell

B cells are the immune cells responsible for creating antibodies, and most produce antibodies in response to a pathogen or a vaccine. A small subset of B cells instead spontaneously make antibodies that perform vital housekeeping functions. Understanding how epigenetics spur these differences in such similar cells is an important fundamental question in immunology.

A delicate balance: Learning new ways that gut microbes educate the immune system

An immune system that mistakes our good gut bacteria for an enemy can cause a dangerous type of inflammation in the intestines called colitis. An immune system that looks the other way while gut microbes spill past their assigned borders is equally dangerous. Understanding how the immune system learns to make a brokered peace with its microbial residents, called the microbiota, is therefore an important area of research.

The triple threat of coronavirus

Immense research efforts are invested in figuring out how the virus manages to mount an effective invasion while throwing the immune system off course. A new study reveals a multipronged strategy that the virus employs to ensure its quick and efficient replication, while avoiding detection by the immune system.