Study Probes How Cells Fight Pathogens

September 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment

 

 

 

Large-scale Study Probes How Cells Fight Pathogens

ScienceDaily 

 

Scientists have deciphered a key molecular circuit that enables the body to distinguish viruses from bacteria and other microbes, providing a deep view of how immune cells in mammals fend off different pathogens.

 

    Dendritic cells (in green) and other immune cells (in blue) congregate around a blood vessel (in red). (Credit: Image courtesy of Dr. Shakhar Guy)

     

The new research, which appears in the September 3 advance online edition of the journal Science, signifies one of the first large-scale reconstructions of a mammalian circuit and offers a practical approach for unraveling the circuits that underpin other important biological systems.

“Our findings address a fundamental question in human biology: how do immune cells recognize various pathogens and use that information to mount distinct responses,” said senior author Nir Hacohen, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a senior associate member at the Broad Institute. “We now have a detailed view of the circuitry that controls this critical process, providing a deeper understanding of immune biology that could inspire novel ways to treat disease and design better vaccines.”

 

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