Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery by researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great importance to avoid serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
There are big gaps in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we can avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. Ph.D. Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found a completely new mechanism in the way that the body's cells regulate themselves ̵
The researchers examined how a particular protein produced in cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this protein is important for maintaining the body's immune system and thus the body's ability to fight disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time and these fluctuations affect the genes and subsequent conditions of cells.
The researchers demonstrated that chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein – what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics – can increase the activation of a number of genes that are not otherwise activated. In other words, when in chaotic condition, the NF-kB protein is most effective in activating the genes and optimally tuning the immune system.
"The results can have a huge impact on our understanding of how the immune system works and how the occurrence of some of the most serious diseases, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's, can be avoided. For example, we know that cancer is related to A missing signal in the body To avoid cancer, it is therefore necessary to have the right dynamics at work in cells, "says Mogens Høgh Jensen, professor of biocomplexity at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute.
Improved knowledge can improve cancer treatment
The researchers point out that this new knowledge can be inserted into future therapies.
"These can come in the form of new drugs that ensure proper protein function. Therapies can also involve procurement and testing of cells from one body to week if the cells are in the right state to get the right swings. If it is, it may be possible to predict and detect diseases before they occur, ”explains Mathias Heltberg, a PhD student in biocomplexity.
The research results are among the first to prove that chaos can be an important aspect of the mechanisms that govern the enormous complexity characteristic of all living things. Even the scientists were surprised at their discovery as chaotic dynamics are often seen as something that living organisms seek to avoid. The new knowledge opens up a whole new understanding of how genes can be regulated through different fluctuations in the proteins that control them.
"Chaos is a mathematically well-defined dynamic that, for example, has previously been used to explain great changes in weather systems. But how chaos plays a crucial role in living cells is completely new, "concludes Mogens Høgh Jensen.
Based on a number of experimental results, the researchers came to their conclusions through mathematical calculations and theoretical arguments.
The results have just been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications .
Chaos in the transition from sleep to wake
Mathias L. Heltberg et al. On chaotic dynamics in transcription factors and the associated effects in differentiated gene regulation, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10,1038 / s41467-018-07932-1
Niels Bohr Institute
Chaos in the body regulates your immune system (2019, January 16)
retrieved January 16, 2019
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