Flow cytometry identifies cell types by reading fluorophore-bound antibodies attached to identifying cell markers, but the technique is limited by the 6 to 10 colors that can be detected without overlap. Researchers have now adapted the mass spectrometer, usually used for identifying composition of a chemical compound, for this task by tagging antibodies with easily detectable elemental isotopes. The method allows researchers to tag cells with up to 100 different markers at once, potentially revolutionizing the precision with which cell lineages are tracked, and with possible applications in biomarker development.2. Locally expanding macrophages
Rather than drawing macrophages from the blood, the immune system can activate their rapid proliferation at the site of injury or infection.3. Influenza’s Achilles’ heel
The influenza virus is typically skilled at evading immune surveillance, but scientists have identified ten lab-made antibodies that effectively neutralize all group 1 influenza viruses tested, including H5N1 “bird flu” and the H1N1 “Spanish flu.” The antibodies bind an obscure but highly conserved region of the viruses. Once bound, they cannot change their shape to fuse with the membrane of a target cell, thus preventing infection.4. Anti-inflammatories for cancer
The cells in the mouse pancreas that secrete digestive enzymes into the gut are resistant to many cancer-causing insults, but may become cancerous if exposed to chronic bouts of inflammation, suggesting that anti-inflammatory drugs may be useful for preventing the risk of cancer in patients with mild pancreatitis.5. A century of immunity
Nearly 90 years after the outbreak of the 1918 Spanish flu, survivors of the pandemic still carry functional antibodies against the virus in their blood, demonstrating the longevity of immunological memory in humans. What’s more, these antibodies are able to protect mice from lethal infection with the reconstructed 1918 virus.6. Macrophages get suppressive
Macrophages express a molecule (Foxp3) that is used to identify regulatory T cells, giving these innate immune cells a suppressive role in immunity that promoted tumor growth in animal models and could have implications in autoimmune and infectious diseases.7. Typing your gut
Genomic data from 22 human gut samples from four countries, combined with previously sequenced gut metagenomes, reveal three gut microbe-types that appear independent of environmental or genetic factors, and that can be distinguished by concentration of bacterial genus. The different types can affect what nutrients the microbes make available to the host.http://f1000.com.