Lymphocyte activation and effector functions
When their cell surface receptors interact with their appropriate ligands, lymphocytes become activated. The functional consequences of lymphocyte activation include lymphocyte proliferation, the release of inflammatory mediators, and target cell killing by cytotoxic T cells and NK cells. There are currently only a few Internet resources devoted specifically to lymphocyte activation and signal transduction.
- Department of Pathology, University of Birmingham, U.K.
- The University of Birmingham Pathology Department's teaching page is available online. Its wide-ranging introduction to pathology includes good sections on acute and chronic inflammation.
- Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment.
- An excellent internet resource on signal transduction from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Science magazine. To gain access you need to register and registration is free until October 2000.
- Chris McBride's World of Active Cell Death.
- Apoptosis is only one pathway of active cell death. Chris McBride's useful website contains sections on ced genes, bcl-2 and caspases.
- The European CD40L Defect Database.
- A database of CD40 ligand defects created by the European Society for Immunodeficiencies. Contains links to Internet resources on X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome.
- The Fas counterattack.
- A review of the role of Fas–Fas-ligand interaction in tumour immunology.
- Horst Ibelgauft's Cytokines Online Pathfinder Encyclopaedia remains an invaluable and comprehensive listing of all the members of the cytokine diaspora.
- Immune Deficiency Foundation.
- An Internet resource for families affected by immune deficiencies such as severe combined immune deficiency (SCID).
- Gene Knockout Database.
- A database of gene knockout animals including genes involved in lymphocyte signalling such as the TNF receptor, RelB and Fas.
The innate immune response is the first line of defence against pathogens. Phagocyte recognition and uptake of pathogens involves pattern-recognition molecules such as the macrophage mannose receptor, scavenger receptors and a recently identified family of molecules, the Toll-like receptors. Genetic diseases that result in a defective innate immune response include chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and leukocyte adhesion deficiency (LAD).
- Understanding the Immune System
- A beginner's guide to the immune system resulting from a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- Immunologic Diseases
- A comprehensive list of links to websites related to immune diseases.
- The PathoPlus Page
- Good introductory lectures on cells of the immune system and inflammation.
- Human Monocytes
- Dr Ziegler-Heitbrock's useful human monocyte homepage includes transfection protocols for human monocyte cell lines.
- The Macrophage Home Page
- A recently updated introduction to the cells of the mononuclear phagocyte family.
- CGD Research Trust
- Homepage of a UK charity, the CGD Research Trust.
- Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Web Site
- Written by a LAD patient.
- Abdul Ghaffar's Lecture Notes on Innate Immunity
Well laid-out and nicely illustrated introduction to non-specific immunity.
- CELLS Alive!
Computer-enhanced images of various immune cells, bacteria, parasites and aquatic organisms.
- Cytokines Web
Source of three-dimensional structures, classification, nomenclature and potential therapeutic application of cytokines and their receptors.
- Cytokines Online Pathfinder Encyclopaedia
Horst Ibelgaufts' compilation of valuable information pertinent to cytokine research. The site features comprehensive descriptions of cytokines, cell lines used in bioassays and minidictionaries of relevant terms.
- The Complement Genetics Homepage
An introduction to the complement system, complete with tables of genomic location of complement components, their polymorphisms and diseases associated with complement system deficiencies.+
- Abdul Ghaffar's Lecture Notes on Innate Immunity
A well-laid-out and nicely illustrated introduction to non-specific immunity.
- The PathoPlus Page
Good introductory lectures on cells of the immune system and inflammation.
- Art Anderson's Lymphocyte Traffic Research Page
A description of some aspects of lymphocyte locomotion and homing, illustrated with microscopy images and diagrams.
- Inflammation and Fever
A chapter from a textbook offered on line. The topics covered range from principles of inflammation to the description of cells and molecular mechanisms involved.
- BioCarta: Charting Pathways of Life
Online maps that depict molecular relationships based on 'open source' information. This one describes our current understanding of signalling through Toll-like receptors.
- Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Web Site
A description of this rare genetic disorder, complete with an overview of events involved in the inflammatory response.
The acquired immune response depends on recognition of foreign antigen presented in the context of MHC class I and class II by professional antigen-presenting cells. Proteins are digested by the proteolytic enzymes of the proteasome. Websites reviewing proteasome structure and function are listed below. Efficient antigen presentation and recognition are essential for the development of effective vaccines.
- Antigen Presentation
- A nice introduction to antigen presentation, part of Kimball's Biology Pages.
- Genome Web
- A collection of links to sites related to MHC and antibodies.
- A comprehensive website devoted to proteolysis. Includes a program that calculates peptide fragments resulting from enzymatic or chemical cleavage of a known protein sequence.
- Protein Degradation Resource
- An Internet site devoted to cellular protein degradation pathways.
- The DNA Vaccine Web
- A regularly updated website devoted to the development of genetic vaccines, this site includes links to press releases on vaccine trials and an extensive reference list in an Endnote library.
- Sabin Vaccine Institute
- The homepage of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute at Georgetown University, this site has useful articles on the history of vaccination.
- Disease and Vaccines
- This is the section of the World Health Organisation's website devoted to vaccines.
Antigen processing and recognition
European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) ImMunoGenetics Database
http://www.ebi.ac.uk/imgt High-quality integrated database specializing in immunoglobulins, TCRs and MHCs of all vertebrate species.
Mike Clark's Immunoglobulin Structure Home Page
http://www.path.cam.ac.uk/~mrc7/mikeimages.html Overview of immunoglobulin structure and function, with many images of computer-rendered three-dimensional molecular models.
V BASE — The Database of Human Antibody Genes
A comprehensive directory of all human germline immunoglobulin variable-region sequences. Free registration enables the visitor to perform nucleotide alignments against database sequences or browse compiled information such as maps of human immunoglobulin loci, restriction enzyme cut sites or PCR primers.
Art Anderson's Lymphocyte Traffic Research Page
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/1962 Description of some aspects of lymphocyte locomotion and homing, illustrated with microscopy images and diagrams.
A nice introduction to antigen presentation, part of Kimball's Biology Pages.
New Science Press Primer: Immunity — The Immune Response to Infection
Well-illustrated introductory articles dealing with various topics, including the Toll family of innate immune receptors, the structure and function of MHC, and antigen presentation.
Institute for Inflammation Research, Rigshospitalet Univ Hosp, Copenhagen
This site offers a number of nicely illustrated overviews of various topics including the basics of the immune system and inflamation, cytokines and their receptors, and genetics.
A collection of links to sites related to MHC and antibodies.
A comprehensive website devoted to proteolysis. The site includes descriptions and images of proteases and protease inhibitors, as well as relevant references and links to online resources. An online calculator determines peptide fragments resulting from enzymatic or chemical cleavage of known protein sequences.
Protein Degradation Resource
An Internet site devoted to cellular protein degradation pathways
Atopic allergy and other hypersensitivities
While autoimmunity is driven by immune responses to self antigens, atopic allergies are characterised by excessive or inappropriate immune responses to environmental allergens. The incidence of atopic allergies is increasing in the western world with asthma being one of the leading causes of paediatric hospital admission.
- Allergy and Asthma Disease Management Center.
- The website of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) is updated frequently and contains links to current literature, reports of clinical trials and links to allergy reports in the media.
- Allergy Web.
- A site with patient information on common allergies and asthma.
Many debilitating diseases, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, are caused by the immune system recognising and reacting against self-antigens. There are 400,000 people in the US suffering from multiple sclerosis. A better understanding of how the immune system discriminates between self and non-self antigens will hopefully bring clinical benefits to the many people whose lives are blighted by autoimmunity.
- Ask NOAH About: Diabetes.
- New York Online Access to Health (NOAH) was set up to provide high quality patient information. The section on diabetes is well organised and frequently updated. The site lists useful links on diagnosis, medication, exercise and diet which includes a link to the excellent Diabetic Gourmet Magazine ( http://gourmetconnection.com/diabetic/toc.shtml ).
- Diabetes A-Z.
- This is the website of the Canadian Diabetes Association; it includes patient information, a history of diabetes and a section for children.
- Cytokine Family cDNA Database (dbCFC).
- A useful collection of cytokine, cytokine receptor and chemokine cDNA sequences retrieved from public access databases.
- Apoptosis Online.
- An excellent starting point for those interested in apoptosis research.
- The Arthritis Society.
- The Arthritis Society of Canada webpage has sections on a range of arthritis-related diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma.
- Arthritis Research Campaign.
- Patient information booklets and educational videos are available from the UK's leading arthritis research charity. In the UK in 1997, more than 26 million prescriptions were issued for musculo-skeletal and joint diseases.
- American Juvenile Arthritis Organization.
- A website specifically aimed at juvenile arthritis from the Arthritis Foundation with sections on diagnosis, medication and research into juvenile arthritis.
- Crohn's Disease Resource Center.
- News and information on Crohn's Disease, includes an extensive list of Internet resources devoted to this disease.
- Living with Lupus.
- The website of the Lupus Foundation of America.
- MS Crossroads.
- A useful guide to multiple sclerosis resources on the Internet.
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Inc.
- Sections on clinical research, respite care and alternative medicine as well as links to other Internet MS resources
| The Internet is an important source of information about HIV and AIDS for patients and health care professionals. Combination therapies have dramatically improved the quality of life for HIV-positive individuals but the complex drug regimens and potentially serious side effects of some of the drugs means that there is a greater need than ever for patient information.
- Avert – AIDS Education and Research Trust.
A well organised, frequently updated website produced by a UK charity committed to improving AIDS education and supporting medical research. Includes an excellent section on the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
- 'HIV InSite'.
A website with sections devoted to prevention of HIV infection, social issues and research news.
- 'JAMA HIV/AIDS Information Center'.
A website from the Journal of the American Medical Association . Includes HIV research news, anti-HIV drug information, a weekly HIV/AIDS news briefing and selected HIV links.
Immunity to infection
The development of antibiotics and the introduction of safe and effective vaccines had a massive impact on human health in the twentieth century. The recent emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the HIV pandemic serve to remind us that infectious diseases are still a major challenge for medical research. Understanding how the immune system responds to pathogens and developing safe and effective vaccines are important goals for this century's immunologists.
- All the virology on the WWW.
A very comprehensive list of Internet virology resources, with links to virus genome databases, virology lecture notes and vaccine information.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
A good collection of links to CMV websites from the Family Village, a global community of disability-related resources.
- Tuberculosis Resources.
An excellent patient guide to tuberculosis infection and treatment from the New York City Department of Health.
- WHO Tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis is a global health problem. The World Health Organisation statistics make for depressing reading.
- The Sanger Centre.
Determination of the complete Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome sequence will hopefully speed up the search for new therapies. This website has links to M. tuberculosis databases and sequence information.
An excellent website from Schering Canada with sections on Hepatitis A, B, C and G. Includes sections for patients and medical professionals. Features include a good listof up-to-date news items and clinical trials data. Includes a 64-slide online lecture about hepatitis C ( http://hepnet.com/hepc/CKLWong/ ).
- Cytokines Web.
A website devoted to cytokine and cytokine receptor structure and function.
- Mediators of Inflammation.
An online review that originally appeared in Promega Notes magazine.
An introduction to the biology of HTLV-1 from a web review of cancer-causing viruses.
An excellent source of information about genetic vaccination.
Genetic effects on immunity
With the first draft of the human genome sequence due to be published this year, genetic approaches to the study of the immune system and immune diseases will become even more powerful. Links to some of the better-organised databases are listed.
- OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man.
A detailed catalogue of human genes and genetic disorders with well referenced articles.
- Cytokine Gene Polymorphism in Human Disease.
An online database of human cytokine and cytokine-receptor gene polymorphisms from the University of Bristol.
Cancer Research Institute www.cancerresearch.org/immintro.html
An illustrated introduction to cancer and cancer immunotherapy.
Cancer GeneticsWeb www.cancer-genetics.org
A comprehensive database of the latest information about genes, their associated proteins and genetic mutations associated with cancer and related disorders. Putative oncogenes, tumour supressor genes and proto-oncogenes implicated in cancer are also included.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI): CancerNet www.cancernet.nci.nih.gov
Information on numerous types of cancer relating to genetics, causes, risk factors, prevention, treatment, clinical trials and coping with cancer. Resources include a database of peer-reviewed summaries, a database of clinical trials, cancer literature, NCI publications and links to other sites.
John W. Kimball: Biology Pages www.ultranet.com/~jkimball/BiologyPages/A/AgReceptorDiversity.html
A well-illustrated online textbook consisting of alphabetized lists of biological terms, with links to discussions of a wide range of biological topics. This section deals with mechanisms that are responsible for the generation of antigen-receptor diversity.
Roth Lab: VDJ Tour www.eagleman.com/roth/vdj.htm
An illustrated introduction to molecular mechanisms involved in V(D)J recombination.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Omim
A database of human genes and genetic disorders, complete with textual information, pictures and links to NCBI's Entrez database of MEDLINE articles and sequence information.
Immunology Link: CD Antigens www.immunologylink.com/CDantigen.htm
A listing of alternative-nomenclature, expression patterns and functions associated with CD antigens.
National Cancer Institute (NCI): Protein Reviews On the Web (PROW) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/prow
PROW is a database of structured reviews on proteins and protein families, including CD antigens, organized into standardized categories of information.
Frontiers in Bioscience: Gene knockout database www.bioscience.org/knockout/knochome.htm
Contains information outlining the impact of gene knockouts on mouse phenotype.
The Jackson Laboratory: The Transgenic/Targeted Mutation Database (TBASE) www.jax.org/tbase
TBASE is designed to organize information on transgenic animals and targeted mutations generated and analyzed worldwide.
BioCarta: Charting Pathways of Life www.biocarta.com
Online maps that depict molecular relationships and pathways based on 'open source' information. Classical pathways, as well as current suggestions for new pathways, are categorized according to major areas of research.
R&D Systems: Cytokine Mini-Reviews www.cytokine.rndsystems.com/asp/r_minireviews.asp
A collection of well-illustrated and -referenced minireviews on many cytokines.
Davidson College: Hyperlinked Human Histology (HHH) & Molecular Movies www.bio.davidson.edu/biology/Courses/Bio307.html
HHH allows users to view the histology of lymphoid tissues. Molecular Movies comprises a series of animated diagrams illustrating topics such as somatic recombination, MHC loading, and lymphocyte maturation and selection. A free Macromedia FlashPlayer plug-in is required.
Currently there are many more patients awaiting transplants than there are HLA-matched donors. One approach to this problem is the development of transgenic animals that could be used as a source of tissues and organs for humans. This technology, called xenotransplantation, is still very much in its infancy but it has already generated a great deal of controversy, which is reflected in a growing number of xenotransplantation websites.
University of Michigan Transplant Center
The website of the University of Michigan Transplantation Center. Contains excellent articles on 'Understanding Tissue Typing' and 'HLA Matching, Antibodies and You' written for nonimmunologists.
Links to internet resources for donors and recipients.
A review of dendritic cell lineage markers by Derek Hart, written for the 7th Human Leucocyte Differentiation Antigen workshop. Dendritic cells play a key role in transplant rejection and the development of tolerance.
Therapeutic Immunology Group
This site offers an introduction to the mechanisms of tolerance and the therapeutic use of monoclonal antibodies in immunosuppression.
FDA Xenotransplantation Action Plan
The current approaches to developing a regulatory framework for xenotransplantation from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The Islet Foundation
The Islet Foundation is a charitable foundation that supports the goal of a cure for diabetes and is a proponent of xenotransplantation for the treatment of diabetes.
The Uncaged Web
Arguments against developing xenotransplantation from a UK antivivisection organisation.
| Cancer is a disease that affects one in three people and there are several excellent websites devoted to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research.
National Cancer Institute
A website giving access to a wide range of information available from the National Cancer Institute, including information for clinicians and researchers as well as patients ( http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov/index.html ). Includes NCI press releases and details about funding opportunities.
A well organised website with links to cancer resources available over the Internet. Material is organised by specific disease and includes clinical trial news.
Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute supports research into immunological approaches to the treatment of cancer. The website has an excellent introduction to tumour biology for nonscientists ( www.cancerresearch.org/immintro.html ).
The Vaccine Page
A site with news articles about vaccines and an annotated database of vaccine resources available on the Internet.
An article from the April 1997 issue of Atlantic Monthly on the promise of tumour vaccines.
Women's Cancer Network
An excellent website with well written articles on ovarian, endometrial, cervical and breast cancer. Frequently updated news stories and a selection of links to information about gynecological cancer.
Prostate Action Inc.
Every three minutes, a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer: this is a chilling statistic from this public information website dedicated to raising awareness of prostate disease. Excellent articles on the PSA test and treatment options.
National Childhood Cancer Foundation
The National Childhood Cancer Foundation supports basic research into childhood cancers; the website has links to Internet resources for children with cancer and their parents