A Trojan Horse? Immune cells ferry deadline fungus from mouse lung into the blood

A report today (June 27) in PLOS Pathogens shows how inhaled fungal spores exit the lung and trigger a fatal infection in mice. The study solves a mystery of mycology: Why are spores of a certain fungal strain deadly while the yeast form of that same fungus is harmless? Study leader Christina Hull, professor of biomolecular chemistry and medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, focuses on Cryptococcus, the most deadly inhaled fungus. The short answer, she says, is that lung macrophages abandon their posts as bodyguards and begin smuggling spores into the bloodstream.

Blockages in nerve-cell protein ‘factory’ ipmlicated in neurodegenerative disease

A molecular basis underlying the neurodegenerative condition hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) has been identified in a study by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health researchers. The research, published in Cell Reports, shows how a mutation in the TFG gene – one of several linked to HSP – impairs neurons from forming the structures needed to transmit signals properly.

Coon, Ane Corresponding Authors of Massive New Atlas of Plant and Bacterial Proteins

Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry, Joshua Coon, and Professor of Bacteriology Jean-Michel Ane are the corresponding authors of a new article by a team of UW-Madison interdisciplinary researchers. The group’s work details more than 23,000 plant and bacterial proteins and molecular controls by which they execute beneficial relationships. The article was published in the current issue of Nature Biotechnology.