Research News from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Making Progress Against Anthrax
HHMI researchers have discovered that some strains of mice are resistant to anthrax toxin because they have slightly different versions of a molecular motor protein that transports molecules within immune system cells. It appears that different forms of the motor protein are either more effective at protecting macrophages or less effective at facilitating the damaging effects of the toxin.
The findings may help researchers understand how anthrax causes catastrophic damage in macrophages. The research may also aid efforts to develop drugs that protect humans against deadly anthrax spores, which have the potential to be used as biological weapons.
Research published in the October 2, 2001, issue of Current Biology.
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