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Montreal Researchers And US Develop Model Of Key Immune-System Component

une system cells that internalize, kill, and digest bacteria within an intracellular compartment called the phagosome, a major battleground in the host-pathogen conflict. Despite its important role in our normal immune defense, the organization and functioning of the phagosome are poorly understood."

By analyzing a cell line of phagocytes from the Drosophila fruit fly, a common biological model, the researchers identified more than 600 proteins that may be involved with the operation of the phagosome. They then constructed a detailed map of the interactions among these proteins and were able to identify previously unknown regulators of phagocytosis and potential molecular pathways of immune defense.

"Phagocytosis is very similar in many organisms, so we are able to learn about this process by studying it in simpler organisms, such as Drosophila," Dr. Stuart continues. "By combining classic cell biology with the newer approaches of proteomics, functional genomics and computational analysis, we have generated a model of that we believe will facilitate our understanding of infectious diseases and expedite the development of new strategies to fight pathogens."

"It is exciting to see that systems biology has the power to unravel how the phagosome works by revealing the intricately woven roles of all the molecules involved in killing infectious agents," says Joel Bader, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the High-Throughput Biology Center at Hopkins.

According to Paul LArcheveque, President and CEO of Genome Quebec, this significant new advance is a further illustration of the tremendous talent of Quebec scientists and the precision that can be achieved by genomics and proteomics, two approaches that yield concrete results. "I would like to congratulate Dr. Desjardins and his team. Their very important breakthrough further confirms the wisdom of the Quebec government’s decision to invest in innova
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