In the largest and deepest marine protected area in the world, a team of experts have discovered new types of microbial organisms that humans have never encountered before.
A joint study by scientists has shown that there are some bacteria that are so foreign to humans that immune cells cannot register them. The new discovery, at the very least, casts doubt on the long-standing theory of universal immunity. According to it, human cells can recognize, if necessary, any bacteria with which they interact. However, the study has shown that some bacteria are determined solely by their environment or local habitat. The results of the new study are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The team of scientists had to look at a depth of more than 3000 meters below the surface of the Earth in order to find such alien bacteria for humans. They will help scientists better understand how the human immune system reacts to completely foreign organisms.
“Our team discovered and cultivated new bacteria that are completely immune to the human immune system,” said Randy Rotian, assistant professor of biology at the New York State College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the article. He stresses that the bacteria have not elicited any reaction from the human innate immune system. According to Rotian, this discovery was unexpected for scientists.
This study is the culmination of a five-year survey conducted over 3,704 km (2,000 nautical miles) of the central Pacific Ocean. Scientists have sequenced thousands of genes, doing most of the work in the floating laboratory.