The atomic structure of the SOS protein, a cell messaging molecule that uses a unique timing mechanism to regulate activation of a critical immune system pathway. Image: Steven Alvarez/Berkeley Lab
Breakthrough in immunology: how T cell signaling prevents autoimmune reactions - health short science news

Scientists have succeeded for the first time to image the process by which an individual immune system molecule is activated in response to a signal from the environment, such as the presence of a virus.

This imaging has led to the discovery that one of the signaling molecules of T cells, known as SOS, has a built-in timing device to regulate activation of pathways of the immune system.

Activation of SOS depends on the assembly with other proteins, and takes between 10 and 30 seconds. When assembly doesn’t happen during this time window, SOS is not activated and no immune response will follow. This is likely to be important to prevent autoimmune reactions.

Read the full story: Doe/Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory
Scientific publication: Science