Move over Akita: Introducing ‘Kuma mutant’ mice for islet transplantation research

Scientists have used a gene editing technique to establish a novel mouse model of permanent neonatal diabetes — the immune-deficient Kuma mutant mice with a specific deletion in the Insulin2 (Ins2) gene. This model is expected to be useful for studying the mechanisms governing insulin-producing cell dysfunctions in the pancreas as well as for evaluating human stem-cell derived or interspecies-derived insulin-producing cell transplantation.

The yin and yang of inflammation controlled by a single molecule

Researchers have now identified a protein called histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) as the orchestrator of the immune system’s inflammation response to infection. By using both specially cultured cells and small animal models, HDAC3 was found to be directly involved in the production of agents that help kill off harmful pathogens as well as the restoration of homeostasis, the body’s state of equilibrium. This work shows that some of the methods being tested to fight cancer and harmful inflammation, such as sepsis, that target molecules like HDAC3 could actually have unintended and deadly consequences.

Gut microbes shape our antibodies before we are infected by pathogens

Because the microbiota is so complex, containing hundreds of different bacterial species, it is not known how the presence of microbes in the intestine shaped the antibodies that are present even before we are challenged by an infection. Researchers have now shown how these beneficial microbes reprogram the repertoire of white blood B cells that produce antibodies and how this helps counter infections.

COVID-19 should be treated as an acute inflammatory disease, scientist suggests

A team of scientists conducted a comprehensive analysis of worldwide COVID-19 data to identify key strategies moving forward to develop effective therapeutics. The scientists suggest that COVID-19 should be treated as an acute inflammatory disease and that severity of infection is associated with the dysregulation of inflammatory immune responses and subsequent inability to develop protective immunity from the virus.

How tumor cells evade the immune defense

Scientists are increasingly trying to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. A new study now shows the strategies tumor cells use to evade this attack. The method developed for this work contributes to a better understanding of the ”arms race” between immune defense and disease. The results could help to improve modern therapeutic approaches.

The wrong track: How papillomaviruses trick the immune system

Specific antibodies protect us against viral infections – or do they not? Researchers studied the immune response to papillomaviruses in mice and discovered a hitherto unknown mechanism by which the pathogens outwit the immune system: At the beginning of the infection cycle, they produce a longer version of a protein that surrounds the viral genome. The body produces antibodies against this protein, but they are not effective in fighting the pathogen.