Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dendritic cells latch on to HIV fat (love-handles?)

In the last post, I introduced the Dendritic Cells (DCs) as immune sentries entrusted with a surveillance function, and mentioned how HIV is able to subvert the normal functions of DCs and and use them as Trojan Horses to infect CD4+ helper T-cells. I also referred to a 2009 study which discovered a possible involvement of certain membrane lipids in the process of DC-mediated HIV trans-infection of T-cells.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dendritic cells: surveillance sentry of immune system

Dendritic Cells (DCs) are important members of the mammalian immune system. Working at the interface of innate and adaptive immune response, DCs are primarily antigen-presenting cells (APCs). DCs are derived from certain hematopoietic (bone-marrow derived) progenitors of either lymphoid or myeloid lineage, giving rise, respectively, to plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and myeloid DCs (mDCs) that localize to mucosal epithelium (inner lining of nose, lungs, the GI tract; also, the langerhans cells of the skin), as well as to peripheral blood.

Mid-week gripes... re: prepublication formats

I'm sorry, but I HATE reading those pre-publication, not-properly formatted, PDF articles that some journals offer. Okay, I am weird in that I prefer on-screen reading to print-reading (see, I'm green. I like to save paper), particularly since I find no point in keeping paper copies of most articles I read.

But these pre-publication PDFs... Gaah! I can't understand them without actually printing out the pages; to me, it's difficult to understand the format-less flow of text on-screen, especially since the tables and figures are placed miles away from the main body text, and it is a pain to navigate a 20-30 page document to get to a figure or a specific reference at the end and thereafter return to wherever I was reading.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Going bananas over RotPotA...

Caveat Lector: This post may contain what one might consider spoilers. Therefore, if you haven't already watched the 2011 movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and are planning to do so, please cease and desist from reading any further. This post contains some of my thoughts and impressions on the said movie.

In no uncertain terms, I quite liked this movie, which has been imagined as a 'prequel' to the long running "Planet of the Apes" franchise (originally made in 1968 by Franklin Schaffner, featuring Charlton Heston; reimagined by Tim Burton in his 2001 multi-award-nominated feature). The 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, under Rupert Wyatt's competent direction, featured some spectacular CGI special effects, and a fabulous performance by Andy Serkis (of the LOTR Gollum fame) as Caesar, the chimp with genetically enhanced intelligence; I don't know how Andy did it, but he has copied the simian movements almost in toto, making for a highly believable Caesar through a performance capture CGI technique (where the motion capture session includes face and fingers in order to capture and reproduce subtle expressions). The storyline was taut and exciting, without a dull moment, and contained some emotionally-charged sequences which were brilliantly executed. James Franco did a decent enough job as the geneticist Will Rodman, and the mandatory feel-good factor (of course!) was provided by India's own Freida Pinto as the San Francisco primatologist, Caroline Alanha. All in all, an eminently watchable movie.

The Primates Meet
Image Credit: Weta Digital/20th Century Fox, via NY Times Movie Review Slide show