Amino Acid Addiction

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Science  05 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5932, pp. 1282-1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175678

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Arguably the most exciting cell in the immune system these days is the T helper 17 (TH17) cell. Much of the interest stems from its prominent role in autoimmune-related pathologies, such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis (1). On page 1334 of this issue, Sundrud et al. report that a small molecule called halofuginone specifically inhibits the generation of TH17 cells, without affecting other CD4+ T cell types (2). The mechanism involved has potentially important implications for understanding how the immune system prevents untoward generation of harmful TH17 cell responses.