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New research shows how viruses use 'good' gut bacteria to bypass immune system

Two new studies demonstrate how viruses, such as the one responsible for polio, use good bacteria in the human (or mouse) gut to evade detection by the immune system.

In one study, Sharon Kuss and her colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, show that the poliovirus, as they write in their paper in Science, is able to latch onto large molecules on the surface of good bacteria and ride around in the gut. Those large molecules make up lipopolysaccharide (LPS) which is a chemical that sets off the production of interleukin-10, a chemical that serves as a signal to the immune system to tell it that it’s a harmless bacteria, thus no need to attack. Meanwhile, Melissa Kane from the University of Chicago, and colleagues, have been doing similar work with the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV), which also rides the LPS molecules on bacteria to escape detection. They have also published their results in Science.

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