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Author Topic: Could amoebae be modified to make them genetically compatible with humans?  (Read 1470 times)

Offline Titanscape

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Some time ago I suggested genetic modifications of amoebas for humans, new hybrid cells would have rabbit immunity and artificial human surfaces.

Another disagreed on basis of HLA Antigens. What do you think, what is the problem with HLA Antigens?
« Last Edit: 20/07/2009 09:07:21 by chris »


Offline Pwee

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First please elaborate a little bit more, as I didn't read the previous thread and you didn't provide a link.

If you are talking about genetically engineering an organism (amoeba) to have HLA, you can run into mayor problems.

HLA is responsible for showing that the cell is friendly. In most human cells HLA puts a chunk of the inside contents of the cell to the cell surfice. So it's not a layer of "camouflage" on cell surfice but a layer of the cells inside. So if you want to engineer a foreign cell to look like a human cell, you have to engineer the inside of it too, to look like human. This is a really good thing, because if previously friendly cell gets infected by a virus or becomes cancerous it shows up on the cell surfice too, because these processes cause the inside of the cell to change, it will contain modified "cell tissue" and so our immune system can react. So HLA presents an ever up-to-date version of the cell's "compatibility" with the body.

So you say that OK, we will change the inside of the cell too, so it will deceive immune cells (I don't know how would you do that). Here comes another problem: HLA is a type of MHC (major histocompatibility complex), in fact it's the human variant of an MHC. But not all cells have an MHC region of there genome. MHC can be found only in jawed vertebrates. So I don't know what kind of amoeba are you talking about, but you will have to implant the MHC section to it's genome, you can't just modify it.

The biggest question is why would you do that kind of thing. If you would succeed, you would have a foreign organism that can invade the human body without getting noticed or being dealt with by our immune system. So if it would find a suitable place to live in our body, it would cause big problems to us, it would start to divide and block blood vessels or do other nasty things.
I definitely don't know, what good would come out of an experiment like that.

About HLA and MHC you can find info here:

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