FEB 15, 2016 3:53 PM PST

Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Facilitates New Immune Cell Discovery

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
The mucosal lining of places in the body like the lungs and intestines is the first line of defense against pathogens the body encounters. Certain components of the mucosa known vaguely as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) help to maintain the mucosal lining, but little else is known for sure about their immune function. Nature refers to ILCs as “immune cells that belong to the lymphoid lineage but do not express antigen-specific receptors.” In a new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, scientists were able to characterize a certain subgroup of cells called ILC3s into three further subtypes, and they believe this discovery is the next piece of the mystery puzzle surrounding ILCs.
 


Researchers from this study, published recently in Nature Immunology, used single-cell RNA sequencing to examine the unique gene expression profiles of human tonsil cells, also called the transcriptome. Single-cell RNA sequencing is becoming increasingly popular as a technique for “profiling rare or heterogeneous populations of cells” (Nature Methods).
 
As expected, the information gathered from the individual tonsil cells showed three main groups of ILCs (ILC1, ILC2, and ILC3) as well as the gene expression levels of natural killer cells. However, their analysis also found three previously unknown subgroups of ILC3. These three subgroups differed based on protein secretion and molecular sequencing, proving to be “transcriptionally and functionally diverse subpopulations of ILC3 cells” (Nature Immunology).
 
“Our analyses also discovered the expression of numerous genes of previously unknown function in ILCs, highlighting that these cells are likely doing more than what we previously knew,” said Rickard Sandberg, PhD.
 
 
Source: Karolinska Institute
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 01, 2019
Cancer
AUG 01, 2019
How cancer tricks our immune systems
Research published yesterday in Nature details the finding of a new “Don’t eat me” signal that cancers use to hide from the body’s ...
AUG 23, 2019
Immunology
AUG 23, 2019
Making Opioids Safer
The opioid crisis results in 130 American deaths every day, and both prescribed and synthetic opioids are at the core of the epidemic.  Any other drug...
OCT 04, 2019
Immunology
OCT 04, 2019
Researchers Identify Pair of "Recruiters" that Pull T Cells to the Lungs
How do CD8 T cells make it to the lungs to help in the fight against infection? Why don’t T cells remain longer in the lungs? How can science optimiz...
NOV 03, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 03, 2019
Can CRISPR Replace Antibiotics?
Antibiotic-resistant infections claim around 700,000 lives per year, with estimates saying that this number could swell to 10 million by 2050 (Jacobs: 2019...
DEC 04, 2019
Neuroscience
DEC 04, 2019
Antibiotic Usage May Cause Parkinson's, Study Finds
A study from Helsinki University Hospital, Finland suggests that excessive usage of certain antibiotics may increase one’s risk of developing Parkins...
FEB 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 12, 2020
Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Work Against Coronavirus?
Over 45,000 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus have been reported globally, alongside over 1,100 deaths. Although over 4,700 people are said to have recovered from...
Loading Comments...