Scientists Discover Human Protein Required for an Effective Immune Response to Invading Bacteria

A team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) (photo) has discovered a protein that plays critical roles in alerting the body to a bacterial infection and initiating an effective immune response to fight back against the invasion. The scientists found that when certain bacteria are ingested by human immune cells, the protein, called NLRP11, can recognize these bacteria through a portion of their outer coat, filling a previous gap in this recognition pathway. NLRP11 is present in humans but not in mice, which are the most common laboratory model for human infection. The group’s discovery, which was published July 21, 2023 in Science Immunology, may therefore help investigators develop improved “humanized” mouse models of infections and diseases involving the immune system. The article is titled “NLRP11 Is a Pattern Recognition Receptor for Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide in the Cytosol of Human Macrophages.”
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