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Salmonella Jams Signals From Bacteria-Fighting Mast Cells

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A protein in Salmonella inactivates mast cells -- critical players in the body’s fight against bacteria and other pathogens -- rendering them unable to protect against bacterial spread in the body, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS).

The study, conducted in mice, was published Dec. 12, 2013, in the journal Immunity.

“Ever since mast cells were discovered to be critical mobilizers of the body’s powerful immune system, it has always been suspected that certain pathogens would have evolved mechanisms directed at undermining this cell,” said senior study author Soman N. Abraham, Ph.D., professor of pathology, immunology, and molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke Medicine and professor of emerging infectious diseases at Duke-NUS.

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