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mast cell under attack

Silencing the Sentry

A mast cell from the immune system keeps a ready supply of signaling molecules (green) so that it can sound the alarm and call other immune system cells to the fight when it detects a pathogenic invader. But the bacteria Salmonella (red) has been found to move into the mast cell and jam its ability to release these signaling molecules, effectively silencing the alarm and letting the invader spread relatively unimpeded.  A Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) team led by Soman N. Abraham identified this property of salmonella in a study with mice. Their work appears Dec. 12, 2013 in the journal Immunity.