The Immune Response To Bacteria

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For large animals like humans, who produce small numbers of offspring over long periods of time, the protection provided by innate immunity alone would be insufficient to keep the species going. But during the two to three days required to mount a primary, fully adaptive immune response to bacterial infection, innate immune components provide our only defense, and it's enough to keep us alive until T cells and antibodies kick in.

The innate immune system responds to the presence of bacteria using two major interconnected mechanisms: microbial pattern recognition and inflammation. Microbial pattern recognition is the recognition arm of innate immunity, the means by which all multicellular organisms detect invasion of their bodies by micro-bial cells. Inflammation is the defense mounted by the innate immune system to control microbial invasion.

Recognition of microbial invaders is based on the fact that for virtually every category of microbe, there are certain structural features that the microbe cannot change without losing its ability to survive and function in its own hostile and life-threatening environment. "Structural features" of living organisms are based on standard biochemical molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and even DNA or RNA. When a microbe has a chemically based structure it simply cannot alter, that structure becomes a prime target for a chemically based (innate) immune defense.

Microbial pattern recognition in the innate immune system is thus based on the development, in us and our predecessors over evolutionary time, of genetically encoded proteins able to recognize and bind to those unique, unalterable microbial structural patterns that are not found as part of anything having to do with us. These structures are sometimes referred to as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). The receptors in our immune system that interact with PAMPs are called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) (Table 5.1).

table 5.1

Some Pattern Recognition Receptors and Their Corresponding PAMPs table 5.1

Some Pattern Recognition Receptors and Their Corresponding PAMPs

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How To Bolster Your Immune System

How To Bolster Your Immune System

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