Act On Your Senses

Science's STKE  02 Aug 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 295, pp. tw279
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2952005tw279

When a pathogen enters its host, it sets off an intruder-alert system that ultimately mobilizes an immune attack force to deal with the offender. Is the host immune system perceived and responded to by the invader, just as a burglar might take evasive action upon hearing an alarm? Wu et al. find that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common bacterial pathogen of lung and intestine, does just that. By using a cell surface protein to bind the host cytokine, interferon-γ, the bacterium switches on at least two genes involved in the quorum-sensing system that governs growth and virulence within the host.

L. Wu, O. Estrada, O. Zaborina, M. Bains, L. Shen, J. E. Kohler, N. Patel, M. W. Musch, E. B. Chang, Y.-X. Fu, M. A. Jacobs, M. I. Nishimura, R. E. W. Hancock, J. R. Turner, J. C. Alverdy, Recognition of host immune activation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Science 309, 774-777 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]