Towards a liquid self: How time, geography, and life experiences reshape the biological identity

Andrea Grignolio, Michele Mishto, Ana Maria Caetano Faria, Paolo Garagnani, Claudio Franceschi, Paolo Tieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The conceptualization of immunological self is amongst the most important theories of modern biology, representing a sort of theoretical guideline for experimental immunologists, in order to understand how host constituents are ignored by the immune system (IS). A consistent advancement in this field has been represented by the danger/damage theory and its subsequent refinements, which at present represents the most comprehensive conceptualization of immunological self. Here, we present the new hypothesis of "liquid self," which integrates and extends the danger/damage theory. The main novelty of the liquid self hypothesis lies in the full integration of the immune response mechanisms into the host body's ecosystems, i.e., in adding the temporal, as well as the geographical/evolutionary and environmental, dimensions, which we suggested to call "immunological biography." Our hypothesis takes into account the important biological changes occurring with time (age) in the IS (including immunosenescence and inflammaging), as well as changes in the organismal context related to nutrition, lifestyle, and geography (populations). We argue that such temporal and geographical dimensions impinge upon, and continuously reshape, the antigenicity of physical entities (molecules, cells, bacteria, viruses), making them switching between "self" and "non-self" states in a dynamical, "liquid" fashion. Particular attention is devoted to oral tolerance and gut microbiota, as well as to a new potential source of unexpected self epitopes produced by proteasome splicing. Finally, our framework allows the set up of a variety of testable predictions, the most straightforward suggesting that the immune responses to defined molecules representing potentials antigens will be quantitatively and qualitatively quite different according to the immuno-biographical background of the host.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 153
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume5
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Geography
Life Change Events
Immune System
Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
Ecosystem
Life Style
Epitopes
Guidelines
Viruses
Bacteria
Antigens
Population

Keywords

  • Antigen presentation
  • Gut microbiota
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • N-glycan
  • Non-self
  • Oral tolerance
  • Proteasome splicing
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

Cite this

Towards a liquid self : How time, geography, and life experiences reshape the biological identity. / Grignolio, Andrea; Mishto, Michele; Caetano Faria, Ana Maria; Garagnani, Paolo; Franceschi, Claudio; Tieri, Paolo.

In: Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 5, No. APR, Article 153, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Grignolio, Andrea ; Mishto, Michele ; Caetano Faria, Ana Maria ; Garagnani, Paolo ; Franceschi, Claudio ; Tieri, Paolo. / Towards a liquid self : How time, geography, and life experiences reshape the biological identity. In: Frontiers in Immunology. 2014 ; Vol. 5, No. APR.
@article{c00130f382c94d06b53818fa2b4be92b,
title = "Towards a liquid self: How time, geography, and life experiences reshape the biological identity",
abstract = "The conceptualization of immunological self is amongst the most important theories of modern biology, representing a sort of theoretical guideline for experimental immunologists, in order to understand how host constituents are ignored by the immune system (IS). A consistent advancement in this field has been represented by the danger/damage theory and its subsequent refinements, which at present represents the most comprehensive conceptualization of immunological self. Here, we present the new hypothesis of {"}liquid self,{"} which integrates and extends the danger/damage theory. The main novelty of the liquid self hypothesis lies in the full integration of the immune response mechanisms into the host body's ecosystems, i.e., in adding the temporal, as well as the geographical/evolutionary and environmental, dimensions, which we suggested to call {"}immunological biography.{"} Our hypothesis takes into account the important biological changes occurring with time (age) in the IS (including immunosenescence and inflammaging), as well as changes in the organismal context related to nutrition, lifestyle, and geography (populations). We argue that such temporal and geographical dimensions impinge upon, and continuously reshape, the antigenicity of physical entities (molecules, cells, bacteria, viruses), making them switching between {"}self{"} and {"}non-self{"} states in a dynamical, {"}liquid{"} fashion. Particular attention is devoted to oral tolerance and gut microbiota, as well as to a new potential source of unexpected self epitopes produced by proteasome splicing. Finally, our framework allows the set up of a variety of testable predictions, the most straightforward suggesting that the immune responses to defined molecules representing potentials antigens will be quantitatively and qualitatively quite different according to the immuno-biographical background of the host.",
keywords = "Antigen presentation, Gut microbiota, Host-pathogen interaction, N-glycan, Non-self, Oral tolerance, Proteasome splicing, Self",
author = "Andrea Grignolio and Michele Mishto and {Caetano Faria}, {Ana Maria} and Paolo Garagnani and Claudio Franceschi and Paolo Tieri",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.3389/fimmu.2014.00153",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "Frontiers in Immunology",
issn = "1664-3224",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S.A.",
number = "APR",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Towards a liquid self

T2 - How time, geography, and life experiences reshape the biological identity

AU - Grignolio, Andrea

AU - Mishto, Michele

AU - Caetano Faria, Ana Maria

AU - Garagnani, Paolo

AU - Franceschi, Claudio

AU - Tieri, Paolo

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The conceptualization of immunological self is amongst the most important theories of modern biology, representing a sort of theoretical guideline for experimental immunologists, in order to understand how host constituents are ignored by the immune system (IS). A consistent advancement in this field has been represented by the danger/damage theory and its subsequent refinements, which at present represents the most comprehensive conceptualization of immunological self. Here, we present the new hypothesis of "liquid self," which integrates and extends the danger/damage theory. The main novelty of the liquid self hypothesis lies in the full integration of the immune response mechanisms into the host body's ecosystems, i.e., in adding the temporal, as well as the geographical/evolutionary and environmental, dimensions, which we suggested to call "immunological biography." Our hypothesis takes into account the important biological changes occurring with time (age) in the IS (including immunosenescence and inflammaging), as well as changes in the organismal context related to nutrition, lifestyle, and geography (populations). We argue that such temporal and geographical dimensions impinge upon, and continuously reshape, the antigenicity of physical entities (molecules, cells, bacteria, viruses), making them switching between "self" and "non-self" states in a dynamical, "liquid" fashion. Particular attention is devoted to oral tolerance and gut microbiota, as well as to a new potential source of unexpected self epitopes produced by proteasome splicing. Finally, our framework allows the set up of a variety of testable predictions, the most straightforward suggesting that the immune responses to defined molecules representing potentials antigens will be quantitatively and qualitatively quite different according to the immuno-biographical background of the host.

AB - The conceptualization of immunological self is amongst the most important theories of modern biology, representing a sort of theoretical guideline for experimental immunologists, in order to understand how host constituents are ignored by the immune system (IS). A consistent advancement in this field has been represented by the danger/damage theory and its subsequent refinements, which at present represents the most comprehensive conceptualization of immunological self. Here, we present the new hypothesis of "liquid self," which integrates and extends the danger/damage theory. The main novelty of the liquid self hypothesis lies in the full integration of the immune response mechanisms into the host body's ecosystems, i.e., in adding the temporal, as well as the geographical/evolutionary and environmental, dimensions, which we suggested to call "immunological biography." Our hypothesis takes into account the important biological changes occurring with time (age) in the IS (including immunosenescence and inflammaging), as well as changes in the organismal context related to nutrition, lifestyle, and geography (populations). We argue that such temporal and geographical dimensions impinge upon, and continuously reshape, the antigenicity of physical entities (molecules, cells, bacteria, viruses), making them switching between "self" and "non-self" states in a dynamical, "liquid" fashion. Particular attention is devoted to oral tolerance and gut microbiota, as well as to a new potential source of unexpected self epitopes produced by proteasome splicing. Finally, our framework allows the set up of a variety of testable predictions, the most straightforward suggesting that the immune responses to defined molecules representing potentials antigens will be quantitatively and qualitatively quite different according to the immuno-biographical background of the host.

KW - Antigen presentation

KW - Gut microbiota

KW - Host-pathogen interaction

KW - N-glycan

KW - Non-self

KW - Oral tolerance

KW - Proteasome splicing

KW - Self

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84900856809&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84900856809&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00153

DO - 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00153

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84900856809

VL - 5

JO - Frontiers in Immunology

JF - Frontiers in Immunology

SN - 1664-3224

IS - APR

M1 - Article 153

ER -