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:3/2/2017)... Summary This report provides all the information ... partnering interests and activities since 2010. Download the ... Deals and Alliance since 2010 report provides an in-depth ... world,s leading life sciences companies. On demand ... of the most up to date deal and company ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... 2017   Acuant , a leading provider of ... enhancements to new and core technologies building upon the ... mobile and desktop Acuant FRM TM facial recognition ... real time manual review of identity documents by accredited ... fastest and most accurate capture software to streamline workflows ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... 2017  Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announces the appointment ... "Too often, too many offenders return to ... are trying to tackle this ongoing problem and ... family members. While significant steps are underway, Securus continues ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... at a Marketing Roundtable on March 22 in Philadelphia. The event was offered ... , The Marketing Roundtable featured breakout groups and interaction with speakers ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... WASHINGTON , March 28, 2017  (AACR17, ... single-cell sequencing during the American Association for Cancer Research ... Center in Washington, D.C. , April ... gene expression of thousands of cells at the individual ... Experts on-hand at AACR to discuss expanded ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... Dr. Chris Yu , Chief ... Anpac Bio-Medical Science Company , announced this week ... and reporting over 40,000 cases worldwide of the ... liquid biopsy tests. Described as "game ... Anpac Bio,s CDA medical devices and technology effectively ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 ... and unpredictable sector due to the scientifically intensive ... include medical, agricultural, environmental, and industrial. In today,s pre-market ... Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PTLA), OvaScience Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Therapeutix Inc. (NASDAQ: OCUL ). Learn ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: