Editors' ChoiceHost-Pathogen Response

Slipping the NET

Science Signaling  19 Nov 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 302, pp. ec284
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004920

One spectacular response to bacterial infection is the release of NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps) of DNA from polymorphonuclear leukocytes that immobilize the pathogens and prevent phagocytosis by macrophages. Staphylococcus aureus evades NETs by degrading the DNA into deoxyadenosine (dAdo). Thammavongsa et al. found that dAdo also promotes immune cell death, which appears to ensure the exclusion of macrophages from the center of abscesses within which the bacteria survive.

V. Thammavongsa, D. M. Missiakas, O. Schneewind, Staphylococcus aureus degrades neutrophil extracellular traps to promote immune cell death. Science 342, 863–866 (2013). [Abstract][Full Text]