β-Catenin Balances Immunity

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Science  13 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5993, pp. 767-769
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194185

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The human immune system ensures protective responses against pathogen-associated antigens while ignoring the individual's own proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids. This balance of tolerance to “self ” against immunity to “non-self ” is crucial because its failure can lead to autoimmune and inflammatory disorders when tolerance is insufficient, or to unresolved chronic infections and possibly cancer when tolerance is too robust. On page 849 in this issue, Manicassamy et al. (1) demonstrate that β-catenin signaling, well known for its role in development, is key to balancing tolerance and immunity through the control of dendritic cell (DC) function.