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    Viral infections leave a signature on human immune system

    A team of immunologists and informatics experts at the Stanford University School of Medicine has identified a distinctive pattern of gene expression that distinguishes people with a viral infection from those with a bacterial infection. The team also identified a second pattern of gene expression that is more specific: It can distinguish the flu from other respiratory infections.
    When pathogens infect the cells of the body, the infection sets off a chain reaction involving the immune system that changes the expression of hundreds of genes. Gene expression is the process by which cells extract information from the genes and render it as molecules of protein or RNA. Cells have the capacity to express more or less of each molecule, creating a pattern of expression that changes in response to external influences, including virus infections.
    The Stanford team identified 396 human genes whose expression changes in a consistent pattern that reveals the presence of a viral infection. The second pattern, the influenza meta-signature, consists of a change in the expression of just 11 human genes. The influenza meta-signature pattern can distinguish flu from other viral infections, as well as from bacterial infections. It can also identify a flu infection before a person has symptoms and even reveal whether a person is building immunity after getting the flu vaccine.
    General Biosystems offers high-throughput Gene Synthesis and Biosystem Optimization services to facilitate your research needs in constructing complex gene circuits and engineering advanced synthetic microbial biosystems.