CAR'ing for the Skin

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Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1154-1155
DOI: 10.1126/science.1195337

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The innate immune system provides the first line of defense against pathogens through major barriers like the skin and mucosa. Specialized sentinel cells embedded in these barriers sound the alarm when they sense that the barrier has been breached (1). What these sentinel cells recognize and how they are activated have perplexed immunologists for over a decade. Two papers in this issue, by Verdino et al. on page 1210 (2) and by Witherden et al. on page 1205 (3), demonstrate that part of the mechanism involves the recognition of a tight junction protein expressed in the skin.