A New Theory of Immune System Control

August 2, 2019

Complex lifeforms have developed immune systems to protect
themselves from infection. An immune response has to start quickly to control
an attack. However, a fast response means that sometimes mistakes are made,
triggering an immune response when there is no real danger. Therefore, the immune
system requires complex regulation to detect mistakes and shut itself down.
This need for a fast response balanced against an error-correcting mechanism
creates special problems in the evolution of immune regulators.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Steven Frank and
his colleague Professor Paul Schmid-Hempel have recently published their insights
into four factors that influence the evolutionary genetics of immune regulators.
The publication explores key contributions like the diversity of immune
regulators, how mismatches in immune regulation can contribute to
immune-related diseases, and the role diverse pathogen populations play in
immune regulator evolution. The insightful theory has been recently published
in PLOS Pathogens.