Lethal Weapons

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Science  26 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5568, pp. 669-671
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071271

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There is much evidence to suggest that microbes engulfed by neutrophils are killed by toxic molecules, such as hypochlorous acid, produced through an oxidative pathway. However, as Roos and Winterbourn explain in their Perspective, new work published elsewhere suggests that neutrophils may use an alternative strategy in which potent proteases, unleashed by a rise in the potassium concentration of the phagosome, degrade engulfed microbes.