News of the WeekImmunology

A New Way to Keep Immune Cells in Check

Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 1945-1946
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.1945

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To avoid being attacked by the immune system, normal cells carry proteins on their surfaces that mark them as "self." Until now, researchers have identified only one type of self marker: so-called class I major histocompatibility complex proteins. Now, on page 2051, a team reports that macrophages, the immune system's scavenger cells, recognize a different inhibitory signal--a protein called CD47. The findings also shed light on the role of CD47, a surface protein present on basically every cell type--and long a molecule in search of a function.