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Plague alters cell death to kill host
Date:4/14/2014

Lathem. "The process of Pla degrading Fas ligand effectively prevents the lungs from being able to clear the infection."

After verifying their findings using cell cultures, Lathem conducted preclinical tests using mice, arriving at the same conclusion.

"Now that we have identified this as a method by which plague bacteria can manipulate the immune system, we have something to look for when studying other respiratory infections," Lathem said. "This could be a common feature, where we see other bacteria manipulating cell death pathways by altering Fas signaling."

Pneumonic plague is unique in that it is the only type of plague with an ability to spread from person to person. It is treatable if caught early, but after 24 hours, antibiotics are rendered useless.

Lathem believes that a restoration of Fas signaling may give antibiotics more time to work, and scientists in his lab are exploring that possibility. They will also be looking at different bacterial infections to see if any manipulate cell death by altering Fas signaling in a similar manner.


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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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