Baker laboratory describes new mechanism of immune recognition

Research in the laboratory of Brian M. Baker has uncovered a new mechanism of how diversity is presented to and recognized by the immune system. Published in the December 2009 issue of Immunity, the top research journal in the field of immunology, the research shows how different antigens can "tune" the molecular flexibility of the proteins responsible for presenting antigens to receptors of the immune system. In accommodating this flexibility, the receptors themselves alter their structure. Ultimately, antigen recognition by the immune system may require the melding of two flexible protein surfaces. In addition to furthering our understanding of the immune system, the findings have implications for the design and optimization of therapies based on immune recognition.