Category Archives: Hard Science

Fighting Neglected Diseases: Killing the worm’s best friend

Around three billion people – almost 40% of the world’s population – suffer from so-called “neglected diseases” such as tuberculosis and Dengue fever. Too little is being done in the fight against neglected diseases, which primarily occur in poor countries. Diagnostics, medication and vaccines either do not exist or are outdated and unsuitable for use in areas with poor infrastructure. Research funding for improving treatment … Continue reading Fighting Neglected Diseases: Killing the worm’s best friend »

Unveiling the identity of a “super-immune stimulatory” DNA

It has long been known that recognition of microbial DNA in the cytosol induces an antiviral type I interferon immune response. However, until recently, only long double-stranded DNA had been considered as immune stimulatory. Thus, it has remained unclear whether other structural features than base paired DNA stretches are crucial for activation of cytosolic DNA sensors, and if for example single-stranded reverse transcripts of lentiviruses … Continue reading Unveiling the identity of a “super-immune stimulatory” DNA »

Strategies to recognize microbes – A view onto nucleic acid sensors

Several research groups within the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence have been involved in the identification and characterization of pattern-recognition receptors and their ligands. Recently, Prof. Veit Hornung from the Institute of Molecular Medicine created a graphical overview of the pathways and their signaling molecules involved in nucleic acid recognition published in the Immunity SnapShot series Nucleic Acid Immune Sensors Part 1 and Part 2.  Here, … Continue reading Strategies to recognize microbes – A view onto nucleic acid sensors »

Recognizing the invaders – recognition of hybrids by the innate immune system

Within their publication “Cytosolic RNA:DNA hybrids activate the cGAS – STING axis“ (EMBO Journal 33, 2937-46 (2014)) Mankan et al. showed that hybrids of RNA and DNA are able to activate the cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS and thus induce a type I Interferon response. We interviewed Arun Mankan, who is a Postdoc at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, about his work on RNA:DNA hybrids.   Arun, … Continue reading Recognizing the invaders – recognition of hybrids by the innate immune system »