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What happens when a group of streptococci stick to cells in your throat and start to make toxins?

Your body fights back by making clones.

i-9752f1fb3fb5563646d156bb91c1b3b7-strep.gifThe animated video, Fighting Infection by Clonal Selection, from Etsuko Uno and Drew Berry is so good that if I didn’t know better, I would almost think it’s really capturing clonal selection on film.

What is clonal selection?


We call this process “clonal selection” because only some lucky cells get selected for cloning. These cells have proteins on their surface that are able bind to bits of stuff from bacteria or viruses. We call that stuff “antigens,” and if the protein has just the right shape, and it can bind tightly to an antigen, then that lucky cell (B or T) gets a signal, telling it to start dividing and making new cells. Since the new cells are clones of the original cell, we call it “clonal” selection).

i-9c660967201c7134b0ccd3c2ea91cffe-clonal-selection.gif

It’s a fun process to draw, but my drawings aren’t nearly as dynamic as this movie.

In the movie, you’ll see an animation of Group A strep binding to throat cells, bits of M protein breaking off and making their way to the lymph nodes, and one lucky B cell receiving the magic signal to grow and make clones.

Comments

  1. #1 peter
    October 20, 2008

    very nice animation, very clear… really like the little bit just before the credits… spooky.

  2. #2 chip
    October 21, 2008

    WOW we just lectured on this to the meddies and this is a great! I sent this URL to every student and faculty. Hope you dont mind me pimping your site

  3. #3 Sandra Porter
    October 21, 2008

    Mind? Heck no! Promote it all you like!

  4. #4 shivani
    January 3, 2009

    very nice animation … simply superb.. you guys doing great job

  5. #5 Charmaine Lloyd
    Singapore
    October 15, 2012

    Hi Sandra,

    An amazing animation of clonal selection. Could you send me the file so that I can use it in class. It can be seen only once, after which it goes blank.

    All acknowledgements and references will be in place.

    Thanks,
    Charmaine

  6. #6 Sandra Porter
    October 15, 2012

    Hi Charmaine,

    I don’t have the file, it’s on the NSF site.