Humans have greater susceptibility than other primates to certain infectious diseases which could be explained by species-specific changes in immune signaling pathways, a University of Chicago study finds.
The first genome-wide, functional comparison of genes regulated by the innate immune system in three primate species discovers potential mediators of differences in disease susceptibility among primates.
Humans are more sensitive than chimpanzees to the severe effects of certain viral infections, such as progression of HIV to AIDS or severe complications from hepatitis B. Genomic comparisons of humans and their close primate relatives reveal many changes in immune system genes. By stimulating immune cells from humans, chimpanzees and rhesus macaques, researchers tested functional differences in primate immune pathways.
The "core" response, critical to fight any invading pathogen, was found to be evolutionarily conserved, with similar gene expression patterns across all three species. However, the regulatory response associated with genes involved in fighting certain viral and microbial infections produced unique effects in each species, probably reflecting rapid adaptation cycles between specific hosts and viruses.
Interestingly, many HIV-interacting genes responded uniquely in chimpanzees, animals which do not routinely develop AIDS after HIV/SIV infection, possibly pointing to mechanisms of chimpanzee resistance to the virus. In humans, immune responses were particularly enriched for genes known to be involved in cell death (apoptosis) and cancer biology.
Though detailed species-specific gene expression patterns were identified in this study, more experiments will be required to assess the phenotypic impact of those unique immune responses.
Future studies will also test the immune response of each species to specific infectious agents. According to the authors, the present findings are "only the first step in characterizing inter-species differences in immune response."
Citation: Barreiro LB, Marioni JC, Blekhman R, Stephens M, Gilad Y (2010) Functional Comparison of Innate Immune Signaling Pathways in Primates. PLoS Genet 6(12): e1001249. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001249
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Pseudoscience Creeping Into Your Conference? A Case In GMOs And Glyphosate
- My Thoughts On The LIGO-VIRGO Result
- Henri Poincaré Predicted The Existence Of Gravitational Waves As Early As June 5, 1905
- Gravitational Waves? Watch the LIGO press conference at 10:30 Eastern.
- Beyond Diamonds And Gems: The World's Rarest Minerals
- The 10 catastrophic mistakes virtual reality firms are making
- Using Stories To Teach Human Values To Robots
- "A further comment on the meaning of Poincaré's prediction about gravitational waves : the classical..."
- "Dear Tomasso I have a simple question: What is the probability of a chirped wave train of 20ms..."
- "Ciao Giulio - I work on the LIGO and Virgo instruments, I can try to explain. The arms in LIGO..."
- "Tommaso, your post is very interesting. I share some of the caveats you refer to. Having into account..."
- "When I was a graduate student at UC Davis, Stan Prusiner came to talk. Klieber Hall was filled..."
- Beard Microbiology: Grubby Hipsters May Be On To Something
- Water Tops the List of Health Concerns for Competitive Eaters
- Natural Flavors Are More Radioactive Than Artificial Ones.
- Bariatric Surgery Beneficial Even for Older People
- Opiates No Better at Easing Knee Osteoarthritis Pain
- BRCA Tests Increasing for Younger Breast Cancer Patients