The Toxoplasma parasite is an unusually devious operator. When it infects mice, it alters their behaviour so they become fearless enough to seek out cats and get eaten. But exactly how it did this was a mystery. Now it appears that the parasite hijacks its victim’s immune system, causing it to produce a chemical normally found in the brain. The discovery suggests that the brain and immune system might have evolved using similar processes to control their behaviour, including electrical and chemical signals now known mainly in nerves.
New Scientist: http://goo.gl/ScKOQ
PLOS Pathogens: http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1003051
TagsAfrica Agriculture Antibiotics Antivirals Bacteria Bacteriophages Biofilms Biology Biotechnology cancer disease Drugs Education Emerging disease Environment evolution Food Fungi Genetics Google+ Health History HIV/AIDS Immunology infection Influenza Malaria Medicine Microbiology Mycology Parasitology plants Podcast Prions retrovirus RNA Science Tuberculosis University of Leicester Vaccines viaGoogle+ Video Virology virus
Top Posts & Pages
This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own views and not those of my employer or any other organization. Comments on posts represent the opinions of visitors.
MicrobiologyBytes by AJ Cann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.