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Sci. STKE, 1 August 2006
Vol. 2006, Issue 346, p. tw263
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.3462006tw263]

EDITORS' CHOICE

IMMUNOLOGY Mastering Venomous Bites and Stings

Mast cells play multiple roles in protective immunity to infection but also have less desirable roles in autoimmune and allergic conditions. The tissue injury caused by mast-cell activation arises through the release of mediators that perform a range of inflammatory functions, which have been thought to exacerbate the effects of venomous bites or stings. However, Metz et al. manipulated a genetic mast-cell deficiency in mice to show that mast cells can protect against certain snake and bee-sting venoms by releasing carboxypeptidase A, which can break down the most dangerous component of several types of venom.

M. Metz, A. M. Piliponsky, C.-C. Chen, V. Lammel, M. Abrink, G. Pejler, M. Tsai, S. J. Galli, Mast cells can enhance resistance to snake and honeybee venoms. Science 313, 526-530 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Marx, Mast cells defang snake and bee venom. Science 313, 427 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]

Citation: Mastering Venomous Bites and Stings. Sci. STKE 2006, tw263 (2006).


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