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Molecular ‘kiss of death’ flags pathogens for destruction

Many bugs that make us sick -- bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites -- hide out in our cells in protective little bubbles called vacuoles. To clear an infection, the immune system must recognize and destroy these vacuoles while leaving the rest of the living cell intact. Now, researchers have discovered that our bodies mark pathogen-containing vacuoles for destruction by using a molecule called ubiquitin, commonly known as the "kiss of death." The finding could lead to new therapeutic strategies to boost the immune system's response to the pathogens responsible for a long list of human ailments, including tuberculosis, salmonella, chlamydia, toxoplasmosis and malaria.

Visit Website | Image credit: Dr. Arun Haldar, Duke University