Sunday, May 22, 2005

going to try and explain

since amy seems interested, i'm going to try and explain how the cells are made to 'glow' more and also how they are differentiated from one another. bear with me if it gets gory because it's sooooooo neat how they do this. makes me wonder how people come up with these ideas. take a chicken Thelper cell. all Thelper means is a cell that helps fight off viruses (among other things). and they look at the surface of the T cell and say hey! that T cell has a special little antenna on it called CD4. other T cells (cytotoxic T for instance) and other immune cells don't have that little CD4 antenna. so they take that antenna off the Tcell over years of careful research and money, and they purify it and make a little solution of CD4 antennas. they inject those into a mouse. the mouse's immune system says 'hey! that ain't part of me! it must be bad, let's kill it!' so the mouse mounts an immune response and makes antibody to the CD4 antennas. so now you have something that reacts against the chicken CD4 antenna. that's what an antibody is. so, over many years and with lots of money, the CD4 antibody is isolated from the mouse and stored in little vials with a special fluorescent tag attached and sold for $300 for 0.1mg by southern biotech and the like. i order that and i put it in my chicken blood. and that CD4 antibody recognizes the CD4 antenna sticking out of the Thelper cell and says 'hey! i'm an antibody and i'm supposed to fight bad things! and i recognize that CD4 as a bad thing!' (because it came from the mouse, where CD4 antennas from another species are a bad thing) and it attaches to the CD4 antenna. and voila! now, you can run it through a flow cytometer and you have a little fluorescent tag attached to all your CD4s. that way, you can count how many you have and see if the immune system is working!! it's called mouse anti-CD4 chicken specific monoclonal antibody. (or mAB)

how neat is that?

No comments: