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October, 2006
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JoVE 10903

Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material from pathogens to confer immunity against a specific microorganism. Vaccination primes the immune system to recognize and mount an immune response faster and more effectively if the real pathogen is encountered. Vaccinations are one of the most efficient ways to protect both individual humans and the general public from disease. A growing anti-vaccination skepticism risks the successes of vaccination programs that helped reduce and, in some instances, eradicate fatal diseases. Vaccines can be administered via oral and intranasal routes, as well as by injection into the muscle (intramuscular), the fat layer under the skin (subcutaneous), or the skin (intradermal). Vaccines contain antigens derived from a specific pathogen. Those containing “dead” antigens, which are intact but unable to replicate, are referred to as inactive vaccines. By contrast, subunit vaccines contain only parts of the pathogen. Some vaccines contain the live pathogen in a weakened (attenuated) form. An attenuated pathogen stimulates the immune system without causing severe disease. Vaccines often contain adjuvants, chemicals that enhance the immune response against the pathogen. When a vaccine is administered, antigen-presenting immune cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells or macrophages, engulf the antigen from the v

 Core: Immune System


JoVE 10900

The ability of a single antibody to recognize multiple structurally similar epitopes is an important immune defense strategy that enables the host to efficiently defend against many potentially threatening pathogens. However, cross-reactivity also elicits allergy symptoms against related allergens. It is increasingly important to understand the principles of cross-reactivity, as antibodies are actively being developed as therapeutic modalities for diverse diseases, including cancer. Antibodies can initiate an immune response by binding to specific structures on the surface of pathogens or other foreign elements. By definition, anything that is bound by an antibody, and subsequently elicits an immune response, is called an antigen. Often, antigens are proteins on the surface of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoan invaders. The specific sequence of amino acids that is recognized by the antibody is called an epitope. Most epitopes are only 5-6 amino acids long. As such, a single antigen may present several distinct epitopes. Cross-reactivity occurs when two distinct epitopes are structurally similar, and hence are recognized by the same antibody. A major benefit of antibody cross-reactivity is that it provides cross-protective immunity to related pathogens. When a circulating antibody recognizes a viral or bacterial pathogen that it has encountered previ

 Core: Immune System

Bacterial Transformation

JoVE 10982

In 1928, bacteriologist Frederick Griffith worked on a vaccine for pneumonia, which is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. Griffith studied two pneumonia strains in mice: one pathogenic and one non-pathogenic. Only the pathogenic strain killed host mice.

Griffith made an unexpected discovery when he killed the pathogenic strain and mixed its remains with the live, non-pathogenic strain. Not only did the mixture kill host mice, but it also contained living pathogenic bacteria that produced pathogenic offspring. Griffith concluded that the non-pathogenic strain received something from the dead pathogenic strain that transformed it into the pathogenic strain; he called this the transforming principle. At the time of Griffith’s studies, there was heated debate surrounding the identity of the genetic material. Much early evidence implicated proteins as the hereditary molecules. Griffith’s experiments on bacterial transformation provided some of the earliest data demonstrating that DNA is the genetic material. Bacteria incorporate external DNA through transformation. Transformation occurs naturally but is also induced in laboratories—often to clone DNA. To clone a specific gene, scientists can insert the gene into a plasmid, a circular DNA molecule that can independently replicate. The plasmid often contains an antibio

 Core: DNA Structure and Function

Bacterial Transformation- Concept

JoVE 10573


In early 20th century, pneumonia was accountable for a large portion of infectious disease deaths1. In order to develop an effective vaccine against pneumonia, Frederick Griffith set out to study two different strains of the Streptococcus pneumoniae: a non-virulent strain with a rough appearance (R-strain) and a virulent strain with a smooth appearance…

 Lab Bio

Biodistribution of Nano-drug Carriers: Applications of SEM

JoVE 10472

Source: Peiman Shahbeigi-Roodposhti and Sina Shahbazmohamadi, Biomedical Engineering Department, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Nanoparticles have been increasingly used research towards targeted drug delivery and controlled drug release. While most of these particles have been developed as polymeric…

 Biomedical Engineering
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