The study, which has just been published in the journal, Nature Communications, also describes how the defence systems can be activated on cue. This discovery can turn out to be an important cornerstone in fighting diseases in the future.
The researchers have shown how a cell attacked by a virus activates a molecule called COA (Cyclic Oligoadenylate), which in turn activates a so-called protein complex called CSX1 to eradicate the attacker.
Terms - CSX1 - Intruder - CSX1 - Rotates
'Expressed in popular terms, the CSX1 starts cutting up the intruder. We can see how CSX1 is activated, rotates and starts defending the cell, once COA is activated,' Professor Guillermo Montoya from Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health and Medical Science explains.
The researchers at the University of Copenhagen have also managed to successfully activate the process themselves. They sent a COA molecule after the protein complex, so to say, and thus started the defence mechanism.
Switch - Cell - Defence - System - Attacks
'In short, we have found a switch that turns on the cell's defence system when we want it to, and so we can diffuse possible attacks,' Guillermo Montoya elaborates.
It is the first time ever that researchers have managed to map and activate a bacterial immune system.
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