Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Immune Cells and Bugs Make a Sugary Coat

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Sci. Signal.  16 Sep 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 343, pp. ec254
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005894

Epithelial cells line the intestinal tract and help to keep the peace between our immune system and our trillions of gut microbes. Such peacekeeping requires glycosylated proteins present on the epithelial cell surface, but how glycosylation occurs is unclear. Goto et al. find that fucosylation of gut epithelial cells in mice requires gut microbes (see the Perspective by Hooper). This process also requires innate lymphoid cells there, which produce the cytokines interleukin-22 and lymphotoxin, presumably in response to microbial signals. These cytokines signal epithelial cells to add fucose to membrane proteins, which allows the détente between microbes and immune cells to continue.

Y. Goto, T. Obata, J. Kunisawa, S. Sato, I. I. Ivanov, A. Lamichhane, N. Takeyama, M. Kamioka, M. Sakamoto, T. Matsuki, H. Setoyama, A. Imaoka, S. Uematsu, S. Akira, S. E. Domino, P. Kulig, B. Becher, J.-C. Renauld, C. Sasakawa, Y. Umesaki, Y. Benno, H. Kiyono, Innate lymphoid cells regulate intestinal epithelial cell glycosylation. Science 345, 1254009 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

L. V. Hooper, Innate lymphoid cells sweeten the pot. Science 345, 1248–1249 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]