innate immunity

Episode 32 - Not an accurate representation of grad school

Figure 2 B from

Figure 2 B from

In this episode, Chadene, Kate and Kevin discuss Kate's recently published paper about how STING, once thought to be involved only in defense against DNA viruses, actually slows RNA virus replication as well. Also, Chadene throws herself under the bus, and Kevin manages to only talk for about 20% of the time. 


Episode 30 - No Drop Shadows on Error Bars

Neutrophil grabbing Staph.  From Wikipedia

Neutrophil grabbing Staph. From Wikipedia

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, and yes, we know how to count... Episode 29 is still in limbo as Camilla valiantly attempts to re-record just her portion. 

In this episode, Kevin and Camilla discuss Salmonella virulence, and how different strains alter the immunogenicity of pathogens. Oh, and Kate's here too... KATE'S BACK!! WOO!! Dr. Franz has a new job, but is just as snarky and ill-prepared as ever. Plus she refuses to drink on the job.

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The Paper: Strains of bacterial species induce a greatly varied acute adaptive immune response: the contribution of the accessory genome
Short Path Distillery
Organ Preservation Alliance (where Kate works now)

Episode 18 - More cow... sirens?

Chemical structure of cGAMP - the "A" is on the bottom left, the "G" on the upper right and the "cyclic" part is that linkage in the middle between the sugars and the phosphate groups.

Chemical structure of cGAMP - the "A" is on the bottom left, the "G" on the upper right and the "cyclic" part is that linkage in the middle between the sugars and the phosphate groups.

In this episode, we talk about the innate immune system's Trojan cow strategy - using a cyclic dinucleotide as a signaling molecule means that viruses can package the seeds of their own destruction. 

Meanwhile, Matt and Kate throw Kevin under the bus with regards to alcohol consumption, and Matt expounds on the security threat posed by infectious cattle. 

Episode 6 - Just a Huge Distraction

Click to download. On the left, a normal banana plant infected with Xanthomonas, on the right, an infected plant that expresses Xa21 and is resistant.

In this episode, Kevin talks with Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis. Almost 20 years ago, Ronald discovered Xa21, a plant pattern recognition receptor that guards against bacterial infection. This receptor shares many features with Toll-like receptors, and the role of Xa21 was shown a year before TLRs were implicated in immunity.

We also talk about recent work from Ronald's lab, in which bananas, a staple crop for millions of people in Africa, are genetically engineered to express Xa21 in order to protect them from a devastating bacterial infection.




The paper: Transgenic expression of the rice Xa21 pattern-recognition receptor in banana (Musa sp.) confers resistance to Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum.

Pamela Ronald's home on the internet

Food Matters Blog

One of Kevin's Screeds about GMO's (there are many more - just ask!)

Episode 5 - When the Carnies Roll In

Click to Download From Here

In Episode 5, we're talking about neutrophils, and the special way they die.

Neutrophils are specialized for killing things. Often described as the kamikaze pilots of the immune system, they typically swarm into sights of inflammation to kill everything that looks out of place. Neutrophils don't typically live very long, and then they die, they can do so by committing suicide in a way that causes further destruction.

Lots of cells commit suicide (we talk about that too), but neutrophils have a special suicide called "NETosis," where they release their genomic DNA to envelop and kill bacteria.

Matt and I have been a bit delinquent with the graphics, but we're working on more, as well as some animations (both of us are trying to learn to make animations in HTML5 at the moment).

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The paper: Brinkmann et. al. "Neutrophil Extracellular Traps Kill Bacteria" Nature. (2004)

Videos of neutrophil swarming (the second one is my favorite)

Ticking clock sound effect by soundcloud user kazukied2