Cellular proteins called septins might play an important part in the human body’s ability to fight off bacterial infections, according to a study.
Septins are found in many organisms, and are best known for building scaffolding to provide structural support during cell division and to rope off parts of the cell. However, most studies of septins, or guanosine-5′-triphosphate (GTP) binding proteins, have been confined to yeast cells. The latest research in human cells suggests that septins build 'cages' around bacterial pathogens, immobilizing the harmful microbes and preventing them from invading other healthy cells.
This cellular defence system could help researchers to create therapies for dysentery and other illnesses, the researchers say. “This is a new way for cells to control an infection,” says Pascale Cossart, a cell biologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, who presented the findings in a poster session on Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in Denver, Colorado.