A detailed model of the phagosome, the cellular 'dustbin' that engulfs and destroys foreign matter, is unveiled in the 07 December 2006 issue of Nature (Vol. 444, No. 7120). It's hoped the model will provide a new framework for studying immunity and the relationship between hosts and their pathogens.
Lynda M. Stuart and colleagues used a blend of proteomics, bioinformatics and genomics to model the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) phagosome. They identified over 600 phagosome-related proteins and were able to analyse many of the proteins' complex interactions.
Phagosomes are formed when regions of a cell membrane fold in on themselves and bud off, forming a debris-filled membrane-bound sac. But certain pathogens, including some bacteria, have evolved strategies to evade this process. A detailed knowledge of the phagosome is therefore essential to understanding many aspects of immunity.
Lynda M Stuart (MGH/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza