Although not as well known as bacterial infections, such as MRSA and E.coli, fungal infections such as that caused by the yeast Candida albicans can be more serious and lead to a higher death rate. Using mutant forms of the C. albicans yeast which lacked different parts of the yeast cell wall, Professor Neil Gow and his colleagues have uncovered a three-pronged mechanism by which the body's immune defences attack the invading fungus.
Presenting the work at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, today (8 September), Professor Gow explained that the yeast's cell wall consists of a skeleton-like structure made up of complex sugars called chitins and glucans, covered by an outer layer of proteins which are highly decorated with sugars. The white blood cells that form part of the human immune system have receptors on their surfaces which recognise specific parts of the yeast cell wall, enabling them to fasten on to the invading yeast cells, kill them and then break them down. However other components in the yeast cell wall were found that can damp down this immune response.
In addition, the immune system needs to attack the glucans in the yeast inner cell wall. In the early stages of infection when the white blood cells start to digest the outer cell wall of the yeast, the glucans become more exposed; the immune system is then able to mount a chemical attack on these molecules.
"We need to find out exactly what the body's immune systems detect and what receptors the defence cells have that recognise the yeast's cell wall components. However, fungi are clever enough to develop evasion strategies – so we need to figure what these are too. If we can do this we may be able to stimulate the immune system to work more effectively in killing disease-causing fungi," said Professor Gow.
"In the longer term we may be able to treat patients with immunotherapy – with agents that stimulate their immunity - as well as with anti-microbial drugs. In addition our work may also lead to new ways to detect fungal infections earlier. Too often the fungus has taken a hold and established itself so well that treatment becomes even more difficult".
Dianne Stilwell | EurekAlert!
Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections
17.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Tiny magnetic implant offers new drug delivery method
14.02.2017 | University of British Columbia
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine