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TB bacteria mask their identity to intrude into deeper regions of lungs

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TB-causing bacteria appear to mask their identity to avoid recognition by infection-killing cells in the upper airways. The bacteria call up more permissive white blood cells in the deeper regions of the lungs and hitch a ride inside them to get into the host’s body.

These findings are reported Dec. 16 in the advanced online edition of the journal Nature. The research was a collaboration between the University of Washington and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.

Dr. Lalita Ramakrishan, who studies how TB evades the body’s immune system and manipulates the body’s defenses for its own ends, is the senior author. She is a UW professor of microbiology, medicine and immunology. The lead author is C.J. Cambier of the UW Department of Immunology.

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