Review and debate on latest discoveries in Immunology

Recent advances

·         The cellular receptor used by HIV in fusing with target cells has been identified. The natural ligand for the receptor is capable of blocking HIV transmission in vitro, implying a new treatment strategy

·         Motor vehicle pollution is implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma. Genetic studies link the disease with the gene for interleukin 4, a cytokine known to enhance ige production

·         The subdivision of CD4, and now CD8, T lymphocytes into groupings on the basis of cytokine production is promoting a greater understanding of the role of these cells in allergy, autoimmunity, and   infection

·         Immune regulation may depend heavily on killing activated T lymphocytes at the end of an inflammatory episode through the Fas and Fas ligand system. Transplant immunologists are looking to Fas as a way of protecting foreign grafts

·         The crystallisation of a complex of T cell receptor, peptide antigen, and molecule of the major histocompatibility complex has provided the best insight yet of how these molecules interact to achieve T cell activation

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