Staphylococcus aureus is an important human pathogen that can hide from the immune system. In the September issue of Nature Immunology, scientists have identified a staphylococcal protein that can block the complement cascade -- an important arm of the early immune response -- aiding the bacteria to escape detection by the immune system.
Rooijakkers and colleagues show that SCIN, a protein secreted by S. aureus, inhibits a key molecule in the complement pathway called C3 convertase. By binding to C3 convertase, SCIN effectively switches off the complement cascade, reducing the ability of immune cells to engulf and kill S. aureus. This molecule could prove useful for the treatment of complement-related diseases in the future.
University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands
E-mail: S. H. M. Rooijakkers@azu.nl
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza