Archives: Comics

Antigen presentation in the form of an immunological synapse between dendritic cell and t cell, love is in the air

In an immunological synapse the membrane between the antigen presenting cell (APC) and the t cell touch. They exchange signals so the APC can present an antigen to the t cell. In this case the APC is a dendritic cell that has the right antigen for the t cell and love is in the air.

Here is a picture from the wikipedia article about the immunological synapse between Jurkat T cell expressing GFP-actin (green) and Raji B cell stained with CMAC (blue).



If you want to learn more about immunological synapse here is a publication:
The immunological synapse, Cancer Immunol Res. 2014 Nov; 2(11): 1023–1033.

cartoon of a fat cell or adipocyte

Adipocytes are fat cells, which specialize in storing energy as fat.
There are lots of people out there who make their new year’s resolutions to loose weight. It is no surprising that these fat cells are scared of shrinking or disappearing completely.

illustration of red blood cell and lymphocyte nucleus with DAPI stanining

DAPI stands for 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole and it is a fluorescent stain that binds to DNA in the nucleus. It is a stain used very often in fluorescence microscopy, when excited with ultraviolet light DAPI emits a blue light. This makes the stain very popular in fluorescence microscopy making the nuclei visible in a blue colour. As an example in the picture below there are various cells which you can distinguish by the blue nuclei and the cytoskeleton stained with another dye that emits a green  light. The picture was taken from thermofisher.

Mouse Anti Beta-Tubulin Monoclonal Antibody Nuclei (blue)

red blood cell lysis illustration, red cell lysing after adding buffer

To analyze cells in the blood sometimes the red blood cells (RBCs) need to be removed. This can be done by lysing the cells. There are various RBC lysis buffers available that do just that.


Red Blood Cell Lysis  Protocol by Centre of Immunology and Transplantation
Red Blood Cell Lysis Using ACK Lysing Buffer by ThemrmoFisher Scientific
Red blood cell lysis using Biolegend lysis buffer

Other useful links

Forum discussing how RBC lysis buffer works
Best answer below

Plasma cell; B cell; shooting antibodies with a sling

Plasma cells, are a specialized type of B cells that produce large volumes of antibodies. This B cell here is using those antibodies to neutralize an invading flu virus that has entered the body.

Adoptive cell transfer of CD45.2 T lymphocytes to new host CD45.1 mouse host

Adoptive cell transfer refers to the transfer of cells into an organism, which could be a patient or in the case of this cartoon, a mouse. This is a very common technique used in immunology research to understand how the cells behave.

Adoptive Cell Transfer in Immunology Research

Typically, the cells that are being transfer have a different marker than the cells in the host. After being transferred to the new hosts, this marker allows the cells to be distinguished from the host cells. In this cartoon here the marker is CD45.1 and the marker of the host cells is CD45.2. Depending on the application, cells can also be labeled with a dye before being transferred so you can trace them back. An example of such a dye, that is also used to trace cell proliferation, is Carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE).

If you are curious on some of the applications adoptive cell transfers in immunology research read this article Utilization of CD45.1 as a Marker of Donor Leukocytes in Recipient CD45.2 Mice in a Bone-Marrow Transfer Chimeric Experiment by Biocompare.

Adoptive Cell Transfer for Treating Disease

More recently, adoptive cell transfers have also been used to treat disease in humans. As an example, cells are taken out of a patient, the cells are then ‘re-educated’ and transferred back into the same patient. These now ‘educated’ or ‘activated’ cells can go ahead and perform their function to cure disease. You can read more about how this is applied to treat cancer in the article Adoptive cell transfer as personalized immunotherapy for human cancer published by Science Magazine.



Cartoon Host-Pathogen Arm Wrestling

This cartoon is showing the battle between a leukocyte and a bacterium. Who will win?

The interactions between the host cell and a pathogen trying to invade an organism, commonly referred to as host-pathogen interactions, are very important to understand disease. Each pathogen might have a unique way of interacting with their host and the host may react in different ways to different pathogens. This is a battle that goes on inside our bodies when we get sick, we may not see it but we feel it.

Here is more information on host-pathogen interactions.

cartoon of monocyte-dericed dendritic cell

This monocyte turned into a dendritic cell (DC) and doesn’t even know how it happened!
Many researchers isolate monocytes and then derive them into DCs to do studies on these cells. It is a common method followed by people studying DCs that need to generate some cells for their experiments.

In case you are interested in generating monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DCs) from human cells, below are some protocols you can follow.