Saturday 7 November 2020

How the immune system deals with the gut's plethora of microbes


New research suggests that our immune system may play an active role in shaping the digestive-tract flora, which is tightly linked to health and disease. The research suggests that our immune system may play an active part in shaping the composition of our microbiomes, which are tightly linked to health and disease.


When faced with a pathogen, the immune system's B cells enter sites called germinal centers where they "learn" to produce specific antibodies until one B cell emerges, finely-tuned to recognize its target with high efficiency. Dubbed a winner clone, this B cell replicates to generate a mob of cells that produce potent antibodies.


The findings show that even in the gut, where millions of microbes wave their thousands of different antigens and vie for the immune system's attention, germinal centers manage to select specific, consistent winners.




Carla R. Nowosad, Luka Mesin, Tiago B. R. Castro, Christopher Wichmann, Gregory P. Donaldson, Tatsuya Araki, Ariƫn Schiepers, Ainsley A. K. Lockhart, Angelina M. Bilate, Daniel Mucida, Gabriel D. Victora. Tunable dynamics of B cell selection in gut germinal centres. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2865-9


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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