Pluripotency (biological compounds)
The pluripotency of biological compounds describes the ability of certain substances to produce several distinct biological responses.
For example, in immunology many cytokines are pluripotent, in that each of these compounds can activate specific behavior in some cell types and inhibit other behavior in other cell types. Interferon gamma represents an excellent example of pluripotency. In most somatic cells it inhibits growth and upregulates expression of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) antigens in a general anti-viral response. In B lymphocytes (B cells) it stimulates antibody class switching, and in Natural Killer (NK) cells this protein hormone stimulates maturation. In macrophages it activates intracellular killing.
Pluripotent cells have the ability to phagocytize bacterial cells and lyse red blood cells. Victims with the disease Typhoid Lymphoma have a defect in the beta nucleotide in the nucleus of the pluripotent cell. This causes the cell to lyse red blood cells, eventually leading to a death by suffocation due to the lack of oxygen in the blood.
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