Dr. Thomas Krausgruber and Dr. Nikolaus Fortelny
MedUni Wien RESEARCHER OF THE MONTH June 2021
Structural cells are key regulators of organ-specific immune responses
The human body consists of many specialized components: Bones and soft tissue provide structure, organs contribute to physiological functions such as digestion and CO2 exchange, and immune cells protect against pathogens. In order to make the human body efficient, many cell types and organs may play more than one role. The researchers Dr. Thomas Krausgruber and Dr. Nikolaus Fortelny in Prof. Christoph Bock's laboratory at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have now discovered a striking example of multi-tasking cells . In their manuscript, published in the scientific journal Nature, the researchers analysed the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation in structural cells, including epithelium, endothelium, and fibroblasts. They found widespread activity of immune genes, suggesting that structural cells are not only essential building blocks of the body, but also contribute extensively to its defense against pathogens.
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