Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New cell that attacks dengue virus identified

Date:
May 17, 2011
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Mast cells, which help the body respond to bacteria and pathogens, also apparently sound the alarm around viruses delivered by mosquitoes, according to researchers.

Mast cells, which can help the body respond to bacteria and pathogens, also apparently sound the alarm around viruses delivered by a mosquito bite, according to researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.

"It appears the mast cells are activated and call immune system cells to the skin where they clear infection, which limits the spread of infection in the host," said lead researcher Ashley St. John, a Research Fellow with Duke-NUS in the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the Duke Department of Pathology in Durham, N.C. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Studying dengue virus in mice, the research team found that mast cells can sense and recognize viruses, and in turn release signaling chemicals to create an immune response.

The scientists chose to study dengue virus, which is common in Singapore, because mosquitos inject the virus through the skin, and skin is rich in mast cells.

They found that mice lacking mast cells had more of the virus in their lymph nodes and increased infection after measured injection with a small dose of dengue virus, compared to mice with normal levels of mast cells. The mast cells produce chemokines, which in turn help to bring some special killer cells into the infected skin to fight and contain the virus.

"It was an important discovery for the field to learn that mast cells could be activated by pathogens like bacteria or parasites," St. John said. "We were excited to learn that mast cells also respond to and promote the clearance of a viral infection."

"The finding is important because to date there are no vaccines or effective therapies for dengue fever," said senior author Soman Abraham, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and mast-cell expert, also in the Program In Emerging Infectious Diseases.

St. John said that the finding opens new paths to explore. Because mast cells are involved in airway reactions, as during an asthma attack, this new finding might also help scientists study viral infection in the lungs, airways and sinuses.

She noted that other mosquito-borne viruses could also be studied in terms of mast-cell response, like the West Nile virus.

"Now that we know mast cells can recognize viruses, we can better understand how that infection process begins," Abraham said. "Knowing the important role of mast cells in viral infections could help find ways to prevent these infections, perhaps in the form of vaccines." Because mast cells can be deliberately activated and also shut down with small molecules, different approaches can be studied, he said.

Other authors include Abhay P. S. Rathore and Subhash G. Vasudevan of the Duke-NUS Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, and Han Yap and Mah-Lee Ng of the Department of Microbiology at the National University of Singapore. Dean D. Metcalfe is with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The work was supported by start-up funds from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, with additional funding by U.S. National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ashley L. St. John, Abhay P. S. Rathore, Han Yap, Mah-Lee Ng, Dean D. Metcalfe, Subhash G. Vasudevan, Soman N. Abraham. Immune surveillance by mast cells during dengue infection promotes natural killer (NK) and NKT-cell recruitment and viral clearance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105079108

Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "New cell that attacks dengue virus identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161940.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2011, May 17). New cell that attacks dengue virus identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161940.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "New cell that attacks dengue virus identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161940.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins