Immunology Advance: Uncovering the Critical Role of CXCR1 in Defense Against Fungal Infections

Immunology Advance: Uncovering the Critical Role of CXCR1 in Defense Against Fungal Infections


I am Lekha. I work at the Fungal Pathogenesis Unit. Our lab studies how the immune system is important for controlling fungal infections. In this study, we looked at the specific factor called the CXCR1, which is a receptor that is found on the neutrophils, which is an immune cell that is important for killing the fungus. We had mice that lack this specific factor. We infected them with the fungus and compared them with mice that have this factor. If the mice lack the CXCR1 receptor, they die more, and their neutrophils are not able to kill the fungus. They have more fungus growing in the kidneys, and they die of kidney failure. We then looked at people who have a variance in this receptor gene and found that, if you have this defect in the receptor, your neutrophils are not able to kill the fungus, and thereby, you are more likely to develop dissemination. In the future, we’ll be able to screen the people in the intensive care unit, who are more likely to get this infection, for the variance in the gene. And then treat them prophylatically with anti-fungal drugs, which will make them less likely to get the fungal infection and less likely to die of the infection.

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