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How Cells Recognize Viral Toxins

For many years it's been known that the fever, achiness and other symptoms you feel during the flu are triggered by a viral molecule that travels through the body acting like a toxin.

But what scientists haven't understood is how this molecule -- known as double-stranded RNA -- is recognized and taken up by cells.

New research from McMaster University has identified how specific proteins on the surface of cells, known as class A scavenger receptors, bind to double-stranded RNA and bring it into the cell, jumpstarting the immune response to a virus.

 
 

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