Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Infectious Behavior

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Science Signaling  10 May 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 172, pp. ec136
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4172ec136

In the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, three sensory neurons regulate resistance to pathogen infections by controlling the activation of a signaling pathway and promoting behavioral avoidance of certain pathogens. The neurons integrate behavioral responses to environmental oxygen, bacteria, and other animals within a neural circuit, and consequently their individual role in the control of immune responses has been difficult to assess. Now, Sun et al. (see the Perspective by Tracey) show that two of these neurons, which are located in chemosensory organs exposed to the environment, sense molecules related to disease or inflammation and regulate innate immunity via a pathway known as the unfolded protein response.

J. Sun, V. Singh, R. Kajino-Sakamoto, A. Aballay, Neuronal GPCR controls innate immunity by regulating noncanonical unfolded protein response genes. Science 332, 729–732 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

K. J. Tracey, Ancient neurons regulate immunity. Science 332, 673–674 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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