HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
White blood cells are picky about sugar

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 9, 2007) Biology textbooks are bluntneutrophils are mindless killers. These white blood cells patrol the body and guard against infection by bacteria and fungi, identifying and destroying any invaders that cross their path. But new evidence, which may lead to better drugs to fight deadly pathogens, indicates that neutrophils might actually distinguish among their targets.

A scientist in the lab of Whitehead Member Gerald Fink has discovered that neutrophils recognize and respond to a specific form of sugar called beta-1,6-glucan on the surface of fungi. This sugar comprises just a small fraction of the fungal cell wall, much less than another sugar with a slightly different chemical conformation called beta-1,3-glucan. Because the scarce form of the sugar elicits a much stronger reaction from immune cells than the abundant one, it appears that neutrophils can distinguish between two nearly identical chemicals.

These results show that engulfment and killing by neutrophils varies, depending on cell wall properties of the microbe, explains Whitehead postdoctoral researcher Ifat Rubin-Bejerano, first author on the paper, which appears July 11 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. We showed that neutrophils respond in a completely different way to slight changes in sugar composition. If we are able to use this unique sugar to excite the immune system, it may help the human body fight infection.

Previously, everyone thought that these key cells of the immune system weren't picky and would eat anything that looked foreign, adds Fink, who is also an MIT professor of biology. Ifat's work has shown that the cells aren't little Pac-Men, but can discriminate one pathogen from another.

Rubin-Bejerano had evidence that neutrophils respond to beta-glucan. After coating tiny beads with a variety of substances (including beta-1,3-glucan and beta-1,6-glucan), she exposed them to the neutrophils and was surprised to see
'"/>

Contact: Alyssa Kneller
kneller@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
11-Jul-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. UTSA neurobiologist awarded $225,000 from Whitehall Foundation
2. Whiteflies and plant viruses can help each other to speed up biological invasion
3. Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses
4. White blood cells in lung produce histamine seen in allergies
5. Former White House science advisor warns that nanotechnologys potential threatened
6. White blood cells of cancer-resistant mice overwhelm natural defenses of cancer cells
7. White blood cells from cancer-resistant mice cure cancers in ordinary mice
8. White-coat effect is virtually eliminated using a non-drug hypertension
9. Great White shark evolution debate involves WSU Lake Campus geology professor
10. White blood cell waste disposal system plays critical regulatory role
11. High blood pressure, low energy -- a recipe for heart failure

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... IN (PRWEB) , ... September 22, 2017 , ... ... the Rocky Mountain Hobby-Expo in Denver, Colorado October 28 and 29, 2017, to ... the event is to promote participation in different hobbies, including but not limited ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... (PRWEB) September 21, 2017 , ... ... scientific and technical congress to review the latest knowledge on these products, which ... international speakers will discuss the impact of Biostimulants on Plant Nutrition, Abiotic Stresses, ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... this month, the response was swift and efficient thanks to the continuing efforts ... is made up of more than 50 stakeholders, including officials from area counties ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Cybrexa Therapeutics , a ... the role of chief scientific officer. In this role, Dr. Paralkar will lead ... and CEO, Per Hellsund. , “I was impressed with Cybrexa’s revolutionary technology and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: