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The Invasive Chytrid Fungus of Amphibians Paralyzes Lymphocyte Responses

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, pp. 366-369
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243316

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Breaking Frog Defenses

The first line of immune defense against most fungal infections consists of innate immune effector cells, including macrophages and neutrophils. However, Fites et al. (p. 366) have found that the fungus currently decimating the world's amphibia, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is readily engulfed by these cells, but that this does not effectively control the infection. The fungus releases cell-wall components that induce lymphocyte apoptosis and inhibit the proliferation of other nonlymphoid cell types, disarming lymphocyte-mediated responses to infection.

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