Invertebrate immunity: Infection in real time

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    PLoS Pathog. 5, e1000518 (2009) 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000518

    Scientists have a hard time following the initial action in an infection, but Will Wood at the University of Bath, UK, and his colleagues have tracked the early interactions between bacteria and immune cells as they battle for dominance in Drosophila embryos. They found that non-pathogenic Escherichia coli are successfully ingested by haemocytes, phagocytic immune cells that travel throughout the developing fruitfly.

    However, the pathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus asymbiotica causes the haemocytes to freeze in place. By inserting or deleting specific host and pathogen genes, the authors showed that the haemocytes froze only when they engulfed a bacterial toxin called Mcf1, which seemed to have an effect on the immune cell cytoskeleton.

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    Invertebrate immunity: Infection in real time. Nature 460, 669 (2009) doi:10.1038/460669b

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