Microbes in the News #2
Copycat fungus deceives immune system and deactivates body’s response to infection
Date: March 28, 2019 Source: University of Sheffield
Summary: New research shows fungi can make similar chemical signals as our immune system. These chemicals enter the body and make humans more likely to get an infection.
Connections: Just today in class we talked about the immune system and how it captures microbes.
Critical Analysis: Fungi have always produced chemicals similar to those released in our immune system. Up until know, we haven’t known the function of these chemicals. Now, research shows that when exposed to these chemicals the fungi can grow more easily than when the host is unexposed. I found it especially interesting that the fungus does not suppress the immune system in any ways. These fungi immune chemicals named prostoglandins activate a specific immune system pathway. This pathway prevents over-stimulation of the immune system. Ultimately this makes the body unable to fight off the fungal infection. What is even more dangerous is that opportunistic infections from usually commensal bacteria pose a danger while these postoglandins deceive the body. Once the body is tricked into shutting down the immune system, bacteria that our bodies always host begin to grow out of control.