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?
- Super Collider Finds Evidence We Are Not Alone In The Universe
- FMRI Study Finds That Mindfulness More Effective Than Scientology At Clearing Thetans
- New Plant Detects GMOs
- BPA Will Kill The World - Homeopathically
- Instead of an April's Fool
- Kardashian Lumbar Curvature Index - An Evolutionary Hypothesis
- Scientific Research Helps Create First Ice Casino Blueprints
- "Perhaps, but plenty of stories citing police and FBI now state they likely made a wrong turn.  ..."
- "Professor Anthony Ray = the given name of Sir Mix-A-LotMack University = Mack Daddy was the name..."
- "I've said it before but anyway.... The discovery of super symmetry might be great for experimental..."
- "All rational thinkers know that debunking irony only makes it stronger...."
- "You pasted a sweeping, non-evidence-based generalization to promote disbelief of a previous sweeping..."
- South by Southwest - the case of the missing Latinos
- Simpler antibiotic treatments could help millions of infants who lack access to hospitals
- Blood test trumps standard screening in detecting Down syndrome early in pregnancy
- Causalation paper: Each hour of TV daily increases risk of diabetes by 3.4 percent
- Obamacare harbinger: Massachusetts health reform didn't reduce preventable hospitalizations or racial disparity