Despite numerous scientific discoveries, experts are still poorly understood how the immune system works. Meanwhile, this knowledge could help to prevent the development of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. More recently, however, scientists from the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University have made a discovery that may prove to be an important part of the confusing puzzle. Experts have found a completely new mechanism of how cells regulate their activity by using chaos.
“The dynamics of chaos is well described by mathematical methods. Thus scientists previously explained, for example, complex changes in weather systems. Living beings of higher order chaotic dynamics will obviously be more difficult. However, the fact that chaos plays a crucial role in living cells, has become a completely new [opening],” says co-author Mogens høeg Jensen (Mogens Høgh Jensen).
The group focused on a protein called NF-KB, which regulates the immune system’s response to emerging threats. Experts have studied how this protein affects gene,reports Vesti.
The concentration of NF-KB changes over time, and these changes affect genes, then the state of the cells.
The researchers found that chaotic oscillations in concentrations of protein (actually, what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics) affect the “inclusion” of a number of genes that otherwise are not activated.
In other words, the chaotic oscillations of concentrations of the protein NF-kB are the most effective means of control genes and the optimal way of “tuning” the immune system.
The researchers came to this conclusion through mathematical calculations, the theoretical arguments and some experimental results.
As noted in the press release of work, a recent study proves that chaos is one of the important components of the control system is very complex living organisms.
In fact, the discovery surprised the researchers themselves. The fact that earlier it was believed that living beings deprived of chaotic dynamics (more precisely, that the nature of avoided such evolutionary solutions to the “building” of living beings).
But the results of the latter work gives a completely new view about how to regulate the work of genes with the help of fluctuations of concentrations of proteins that control the activity of genes.
“The results could have a profound impact on our understanding of the functioning of the immune system and how you can avoid some of the most serious diseases, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s,” notes Jensen.
For example, he says, it is known that cancer is associated with impaired signaling in the body. “So, to avoid cancer, you must have the correct dynamics of cells,” he says.
Thus, the results of current scientific research can be useful for developing future therapies.
“We can talk about new drugs for the proper functioning of proteins. Therapy can also include removing cells from the body and their subsequent testing, which will assess whether the cells in the correct state. If not, it will be possible to predict diseases before they occur,” concludes another author Matias Hellberg (Mathias Heltberg).
The results presented in the scientific journal Nature Communications.