ISCID News Editor
Member # 1417
posted 21. November 2005 10:45
Stealth Proteins: In Silico Identification of a Novel Protein Family Rendering Bacterial Pathogens Invisible to Host Immune Defense
Peter Sperisen, Christoph D. Schmid, Philipp Bucher, Olav Zilian
[PLoS] Editor: Peer Bork, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
November 18, 2005
The immune system^ is a complex and highly developed system of specialized cells and organs that protects an organism against bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral infections. Broadly speaking, the different types of immune responses subdivide the immune system into two categories: innate (or nonadaptive) and adaptive^ immune system. The innate immune^ system serves as a first line of defense but lacks the ability to recognize certain pathogens and to provide the specific protective immunity that prevents reinfection. Just as metazoans have developed many different defenses against pathogens, so have pathogens evolved elaborate strategies to evade these defenses. Based on a comparative genomics approach and data mining, the authors have discovered a new family of proteins with a striking phylogenetic distribution, occurring in most eukaryotes^ and in subsets of mostly pathogenic or commensal prokaryotes^. While the precise functions of these proteins remain unknown, prokaryotic versions have been implicated in the synthesis of extracellular polysaccharides known to be potent regulators of the innate immune system. This previously unrecognized link hints towards a potentially novel regulatory mechanism of the innate immune system. It remains to be shown if drugs selectively inhibiting Stealth in pathogens will help fight Stealth-mediated infections.
Read the entire research article at PLoS Computational Biology
[Emphases added by ISCID News Editor]
[Link-underlined terms with ^ indicate linked entry in ISCID Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy as added by ISCID News Editor]
Copyright: © 2005 Sperisen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
[ 21. November 2005, 10:58: Message edited by: ISCID News Editor ]