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Policing cells demand ID to tell friend from foe, say University of Pennsylvania cell engineers
Date:3/11/2008

heir surface that is specifically recognized by the macrophage to switch off the headlock, thus stopping engulfment and allowing self cells to coexist and move on.

The team found that both actin and non-muscle myosin were involved in the attack of foreign sheep cells due to recognition of the foreign protein CD47. Human red blood cells activated only actin, in a meet-and-greet maneuver. Macrophages, therefore, use a form of identification, much like police ask for a drivers license at a traffic stop; however, not every cell tailed by antibodies is a danger to the body, so macrophages check for that marker, the protein CD47. If the latter is missing or even of the wrong species, the target is devoured.

Additional experiments also showed that protein CD47 affects its receptor, SIRP-alpha, which in turn inactivates the myosin by preventing the addition of a phosphate group to the brawny molecule. By shutting down a pulling protein needed to complete phagocytosis, CD47 prevents cells that belong from being eaten.


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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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