Cambridge researchers have discovered how T cells—an important component of our immune system—are able keep on killing as they hunt down and kill cancer cells, repeatedly reloading their toxic weapons.
Professor Gillian Griffiths from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, who led the research, said: “T cells are trained assassins that are sent on their deadly missions by the immune system. There are billions of them in our blood, each engaged in a ferocious and unrelenting battle to keep us healthy.
“Once a T cell has found its target, it binds to it and releases its toxic cargo. But what is particularly remarkable is that they are then able to go on to kill and kill again. Only now, thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, have we been able to find out how they reload their weapons.”
Today, in a study published in Science, the team have shown that the refueling of T cells’ toxic weapons is regulated by mitochondria. Mitochondria are often referred to as a cell’s batteries as they provide the energy that power their function. However, in this case the mitochondria use an entirely different mechanism to ensure the killer T cells have sufficient ‘ammunition’ to destroy their targets.
Professor Griffiths added: “These assassins need to replenish their toxic payload so that they can keep on killing without damaging the T cells themselves. This careful balancing act turns out to be regulated by the mitochondria in T cells, which set the pace of killing according to how quickly they themselves can manufacture proteins. This enables killer T cells to stay healthy and keep on killing under challenging conditions when a prolonged response is required.”
To accompany the study, Professor Griffiths and colleagues have released footage showing killer T cells as they hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.
One teaspoon full of blood alone is believed to have around 5 million T cells, each measuring around 10 micrometers in length, about a tenth the width of a human hair. The cells, seen in the video as red or green amorphous ‘blobs’, move around rapidly, investigating their environment as they travel.
When a T cell finds an infected cell or, in the case of the film, a cancer cell, membrane protrusions rapidly explore the surface of the cell, checking for tell-tale signs that this is an uninvited guest. The T cell binds to the cancer cell and injects poisonous ‘cytotoxin’ proteins down special pathways called microtubules to the interface between the T cell and the cancer cell, before puncturing the surface of the cancer cell and delivering its deadly cargo.
Although skin aging has not been related to many health complications, it has aesthetic issues. Some of the common symptoms of skin aging are changes in the skin texture (rough, dry, and itchy), discoloration, [...]
In an article published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers have highlighted the significance and potential risks associated with the release of nanoparticles from coal-fired power plants. Applying the single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass [...]
A paper recently published in the journal ACS Applied Energy Materials demonstrated the feasibility of using a covalent organic framework (COF)-based nanofluidic hybrid membranes (NHMs) to attain enhanced interfacial ion transport for the generation of osmotic [...]
The excess fluoroquinolones (FQs) discharged into the aquatic environment due to human activities must be removed cost-effectively. In an article published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the authors fabricated an environment-friendly dealkaline lignin-grafted Fe3O4 nanoparticles [...]
Controlling strong electromagnetic fields on nanoparticles is the key to triggering targeted molecular reactions on their surfaces. Such control over strong fields is achieved via laser light. Although laser-induced formation and breaking of molecular [...]
A paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications demonstrated an effective method to realize on-chip nanophotonic topological rainbow devices using the concept of synthetic dimensions. Importance of Synthetic Dimensions for the Construction of Topological Nanophotonics [...]
In a study available in the journal Materials Today: Proceedings, silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) were fabricated using a green method using Citrus X sinensis. Methylthioninium Chloride (MB) Dyes Threatening the Environment Dye and sewage drainage into [...]
Public health experts are divided over how many people are getting long COVID-19, a potentially debilitating condition that comes after a patient has recovered from the coronavirus. Ill effects from the condition can include [...]
Well over two years into the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of COVID cases continue to be recorded around the world every day. With the rise of new variants, the symptoms of COVID have also evolved. Initially, [...]
Drug resistance is a common phenomenon, with drugs becoming less and less effective as their usage increases. To address this issue, a novel technique employing conjugated polymer-based nanoparticles is presented in the study published [...]
Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-sized microrobots individually and at [...]
Scientists have recently developed multifunctional hexagonal NaxWO3 nanocrystals that can serve as microwave sensitizers to kill cancer cells as well as improve the overall chemodynamic therapy (CDT). This study is available as a pre-proof in Chemical Engineering Journal. [...]
Apple’s visionary founder, the late Steve Jobs once said, “the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology”. And that prediction is coming true in the drug [...]
Chemical separation processes are essential in the manufacturing of many products from gasoline to whiskey. Such processes are energetically costly, accounting for approximately 10–15 percent of global energy consumption. In particular, the use of [...]