lab snippets

Allergens get on our nerves and cause atopic dermatitis

By 9 octobre 2019 juin 2nd, 2020 No Comments

Hello LABNAUT readers,

This week we discover that allergens get on our nerves and cause atopic dermatitis, researchers track the HI virus, and DNA tweezers could be used to study drugs.

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, primarily affects infants and children, and manifests itself in hypersensitivity to allergens in the environment. A skin disease characterized by flare-ups, it is often treated with topical anti-inflammatories. A new study led by Inserm researcher Nicolas Gaudenzio, from the Epithelial Differentiation and Rheumatoid Autoimmunity Unit (UDEAR – Inserm / UT3 Paul Sabatier), in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford University in the US shows that immune cells and sensory neurons interact in the skin to form units that can detect allergens and trigger inflammation. The discovery provides an insight into how atopic dermatitis works, and points the way to new therapeutic possibilities. Thee findings have now been published in Nature Immunology.

Read the full press release from Inserm.


Mast cells and sensory neurons cluster in “bunches” under the skin. ©Nicolas Gaudenzio

To treat diseases better, we must understand how they arise. Researchers in Germany, France and the UK have now succeeded in using high-resolution imaging to show how the HI virus spreads between living cells and which molecules it requires for this purpose. Using superresolution STED fluorescence microscopy, they provide direct proof for the first time that the AIDS pathogen creates a certain lipid environment for replication. « We have thus created a method for investigating how this multiplication can potentially be prevented, » says team leader Christian Eggeling of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The  results are reported in Science Advances.

The French members of the research team are from IRIM (CNRS) in and are led by Delphine Muriaux.

The efficacy of a drug strongly depends on the time that the drug molecule spends near its target, which is usually a protein. If this interaction time is long, the drug will have a stronger effect than if the interaction time is short. Researchers at the Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole normale supérieure (IBENS) – (CNRS, INSERM, ENS Paris) led by Terence Strick and Charlie Gosse have now developed a new very-high resolution technique for observing the interaction of a single drug molecule with a single target molecule in real time. The work, reported in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new perspectives in drug development, therapeutic antibodies and materials science, they say.


© Vlad Kunetki