Researchers decipher targets for sepsis and autoimmune diseases
Berlin/Dortmund – German researchers have identified potential targets involved in the formation of so called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), DNA-protein nets that are formed by cells of the innate immune system to defend against bacterial infections. In a cell-based screen against a compound library, the team headed by Arthuro Zychlinski (Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin) and Herbert Waldmann (MPI for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund) found that inhibitors of the RAF-MEK-Erk pathway prevented NET formation. According to the authors, this pathway induces the expression of anti apoptotic proteins suggesting that neutrophils, which form the NETs, may block apoptosis to allow NET formation. NETs are believed to induce deleterious effects in sepsis or autoimmune diseases.