New data suggests that a novel molecule appears to be involved in the intestine’s response to infection. The study was a collaboration between researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Institut Curie in Paris. It appears in the March 13 issue of the journal Nature.
“This is the first identified function for this molecule,” says co-senior author Susan Gilfillan, Ph.D., research instructor in pathology and immunology at the School of Medicine. “Our findings suggest that this molecule may play a fundamental role in gut immunology.”
When a virus enters the body, proteins called antigens appear on the surface of cells and alert the immune system to infection. A molecule called MR1, which was discovered eight years ago, appears to be very similar to the main category of molecules that deliver antigens to the cell surface, called major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC Class I). However, its function is not yet understood.
Gila Z. Reckess | EurekAlert!
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