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publicado em 10/08/2011 às 13h30:00
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Protein "unmasks" pathogenic fungi to activate the immune system

Mechanism causes cells of the immune system can distinguish pathogens from non-pathogenic

 
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Foto: university of Miami
Silvina Levis, principal investigadora do estudo
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Silvina Levis, principal investigadora do estudo

In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists at the Whitehead Institute in the United States described a mechanism by which immune cells distinguish pathogens from non-pathogenic and modulate the defensive response in case of yeast infection .

"Until then we did not know that the dectin-1 protein need a partner to modulate the defense, depending on whether the fungi are pathogenic or not." Says the researcher Alexandre Esteban.

The work builds on previous research that identified how immune cells called macrophages determine whether a foreign body is a fungus. Dectin-1 protein, which resides in the cell membrane of macrophages, recognizes the beta-glucan, sugar molecule that forms the cell walls of fungi. Because dectin-1 detects beta-glucan, this indicates the presence of fungi, which can trigger various responses in macrophages, such as immersion of the fungal cell, the production of reactive oxygen species (which are toxic to fungi ) or the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that recruit other immune cells.

To observe the activity of the dectin-1 in living cells, the researchers identified the protein also integrated in the cell membrane of macrophages. Maximilian Popp, a researcher with the group, improved the method of marking to have no interference with normal cellular functions.

Using the method of Popp, Esteban determined the association between dectin-1 and galectin-3 protein in macrophages. Although known for identifying pathogenic fungi, was not known that galectin-3 worked in the defense against them.

The Galectin-3 recognizes and binds to sugar molecules that are only present in the pathogen Candida albicans. Such recognition detects the fungal cells as pathogens and modulates immune response to dectin-1.

Esteban notes that research focused on protein galectin-3 will increase understanding of invasive fungal infections and may one day lead to the discovery of new antifungal drugs.

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Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   Protein    Fungi    Pathogens    Dectin-1    Search   
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