• actin

    definition

    Actin is...

    Protein commonly found in eukaryotic cells as part of the cytoskeleton that can form filaments (fibres).

  • active immunization

    definition

    Active immunization refers to…

    Intended activation of the adaptive immune response by administration of a vaccine. Immunizations are among the most effective preventive measures in medicine. Active immunization with living or inactivated vaccine induces development of pathogen-specific memory cells that allow a rapid and specific immune response when re-exposed to the pathogen. In most cases, being vaccinated once conveys life-long protection.

  • adaptive immunity

    definition

    Adaptive immunity refers to…

    Defense system against pathogens acquired after having been infected. Made up of B cells and T cells, adaptive immunity is capable of “remembering” individual pathogens and protecting the body against them in case of re-exposure.

  • adenoviruses

    definition

    Adenoviruses are…

    Common viruses with a DNA genome known to cause diseases of the airways and digestive organs. In gene technology, low-virulence strains of adenovirus are used as vectors in gene transfer.

  • adhesion

    definition

    Adhesion means…

    In bacteriology, a term used to describe the process of a bacterium attaching to an organic or inorganic surface, to other bacteria, or to a host cell. Plays a central role in infection.

  • adjuvant

    definition

    An adjuvant is…

    A substance administered along with the antigen as part of a vaccine in order to amplify the immune response to that antigen.

  • AIDS

    definition

    Acquired Immunedeficiency Syndrome

    “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome”; Caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus is transmitted through direct contact with certain bodily fluids of an infected person. In countries with adequate health care, AIDS has become a treatable chronic illness although to date there is no cure or vaccine. In 2010, 1.8 million people died of AIDS.

  • algorithm

    definition

    An algorithm is…

    Solution-finding process using a precisely defined methodology to solve a problem in a finite number of steps. Examples include a washing machine programme or a software program to fill out a form.

  • allergy

    definition

    Allergy refers to…

    Defense response against a normally harmless environmental antigen called an allergen. Characterized by a strong inflammatory response, which can produce symptoms like a rash, hay fever, asthma, vomitingdiarrhea and even circulatory shock. An allergy is caused by overactivation of certain types of white blood cells (mast cells and basophilic granulocytes) mediated by the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE).

  • amino acid

    definition

    An amino acid is…

    Organic molecule. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins.

  • amyloid

    definition

    An amyloid is…

    Protein-containing deposit in tissues. Amyloid formation is pathological: normal body proteins undergo structural changes to form fibrils followed by amyloids.

  • anti-infectives

    definition

    Anti-infectives refer to…

    Umbrella term for drugs that are effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Scientists are investigating natural substances, specifically those produced by microorganisms, for their potential anti-infective properties.

  • antibiotic

    definition

    An antibiotic is…

    Bactericidal or bacteriostatic drug capable of killing bacteria or inhibiting bacterial growth, respectively. Antibiotics are used in the fight against bacterial infections. As an increasing number of germs is developing antibiotic resistance, scientists are constantly searching for new candidate antibiotics. The oldest and most well-known antibiotic is penicillin, derived from the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum, which interferes with bacterial cell division.

  • antibiotic resistance

    definition

    Antibiotic resistance means…

    Bacterial defense mechanism against antibiotics. Resistance may consist of an antibiotic being inactivated with the help of enzymes or of an antibiotic being extruded from the cell using different transport mechanisms before it can unfold its pharmacologic potential. Genes that bestow resistance are often found on a plasmid-a circular piece of bacterial DNA that is separate from the bacterial chromosome. Since bacteria are capable of exchanging plasmids with each other, antibiotic resistance genes can quickly be passed on. This way, antibiotics are gradually rendered ineffective.

  • antibodies

    definition

    Antibodies are…

    Also known as immunoglobulins, these proteins are made by B cells in response to antigens and are released into the blood and lymph. Antibodies can attach to foreign invaders and prompt an immune response, which results in elimination of the foreign substance. They do this by recognizing specific regions of the antigen called epitopes.

  • antigen-specific cell

    definition

    An Antigen-specific cell is…

    Defender cell of the immune system capable of recognizing a specific structural property of the pathogen called the antigen.

  • antigens

    definition

    Antigens are...

    Structures that are recognized and bound by antibodies. Most antigens are proteins but may also be made from carbohydrates, lipids, and other substances. In case of an autoimmune disease, the immune system views the body’s own structures as foreign – in which case they are called auto-antigens.

  • apoptosis

    definition

    Apoptosis is…

    Cell death which follows a genetically encoded programme. This cellular “suicide” programme is important in multicellular organisms, where it serves the purpose of getting rid of cells that are no longer needed, diseased, or infected.

  • autoclave

    definition

    An autoclave is…

    A device used to sterilize laboratory equipment. Gene technology laboratory safety policy requires that all equipment used as well as contaminated waste products be sterilized. An autoclave consists of a gastight pressure container similar to a pressure cooker. The equipment is sterlized in 121 degree C hot water vapor and at 2 bar pressure.

  • autoimmune disease

    definition

    An autoimmune disease is…

    A disease that is triggered by the adaptive immune system inappropriately mounting a response against a self-antigen. The immune system mistakes the body’s own tissues for a foreign object and attacks it. Examples include type I Diabetes mellitus and Morbus Crohn.

  • autoinducer

    definition

    Autoinducer refers to…

    Chemical signaling substance used by bacteria in quorum sensing, which allows bacteria to communicate with each other and to adapt gene expression to the bacterial population’s density.

  • autophagy

    definition

    Autophagy means…

    Degradation of cellular components. Cells use autophagy to break down proteins that are misfolded or no longer leeded as well as microorganisms or viruses that have entered the cell. The latter shows the importance of this process in the immune defense.

  • avian flu

    definition

    Avian flu is…

    Zoonosis caused by the influenza virus. Natural reservoirs include marine birds. 1997 saw the first documented case of the H5N1 viral subtype jumping species from birds to humans. Such a rare infection follows human contact with infected animals. So far, there have been no reported cases of a person-to-person transmission of H5N1.

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