Antibodies are large proteins that can grab onto and neutralize disease-causing microorganisms. Sometimes antibodies get confused, and grab onto harmless molecules from things like peanuts and tree pollen.
An antibody known as IgE is often the culprit in allergic reactions like these. A kind of super-antibody, known as high-affinity IgE, triggers the most severe reactions, up to and including potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis, which may involve sudden drops in blood pressure, trouble breathing and dizziness.
What drives the immune system to make this high-affinity IgE? A research team co-led by Adam Williams of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine and UConn Health, and Stephanie C. Eisenbarth of Yale School of Medicine, tracked down an unexpected driver: a subtype of immune cells designated Tfh13. more