When something gets uncomfortably close to you - in whichever way it may be - you will seek to fend it off. By walking away, choosing to ignore it, using physical force or, if it is a person, perhaps verbal abuse. In the same vein, across all kingdoms, organisms have developed a multi-faceted system to fight off the more invisible world of microbial infection: the immune response. The immune response is the arsenal an organism has at its disposal to neutralise invading entities such as viruses or bacteria for instance - and the more complex the organism the more intricate the system seems to be. Despite this, the types of armament provided are only really of two sorts: cells or molecules. Any immune response to infection is an unfathomable combination of both; there being many different kinds of immune cells and myriads of immune molecules. Sometimes, too, genetic inheritance can further fine-tune an individual's reaction to a given infection. In this light, researchers discovered that human individuals who have acquired a specific isoform of a certain protein, known as 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 or OAS1, seem to be less prone to developing the severe form of COVID-19.
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Tales From A Small World
Tales From A Small World is a collection of the first hundred articles which originally appeared on this site. Published in September 2009, the book is enriched by poems from the Dublin poet, Pat Ingoldsby. Learn more and order your copy online.
Journey Into A Tiny World
« Globin and Poietin set out to save Lily's life. But time is running short and they can't find the marrow... Here is the tale of their courage, fun and laughter on a journey that takes them deep into the tiniest of worlds.» For children. Learn more and order your copy online.
Snapshot : GFP
One of Nature's wonders is to produce light. Fireflies flutter and flicker in the night while other creatures are flashing light in the depths of the ocean. Brief and relatively intense flashes are used by some to ward off predators, catch prey or even seduce a future partner. This fascinating phenomenon is the achievement of a number of proteins amongst which GFP, otherwise known as Green Fluorescent Protein.
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