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Disease-causing bacterial invaders aided by failure of immune system switch

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Immune system defenses against dangerous bacteria in the gut can be breached by turning off a single molecular switch that governs production of the protective mucus lining our intestinal walls, according to a study led by researchers at Yale, the University of British Columbia, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

“This gut microbiota has been linked to the inflammation that triggers obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and most of chronic health problems of the Western World,” said Yale’s Richard Flavell, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and co-senior author of the paper appearing Feb. 27 in the journal Cell. “We knew these invaders were causing problems, but we didn’t know how.”

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