Sunday, 29 November 2015

Bat immune receptors are one of a kind

Date: November 26, 2015
Source: Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)

An international team of scientists discovered that in bats, Toll-like receptors, the first-line defense mechanism against invading pathogens, are different from other mammals. This suggests that the way bats recognize certain pathogens may be different than in other species and help explain why bats appear to suffer little from some pathogens which cause serious disease or mortality in other mammals. The study has been published in the scientific journal Molecular Ecology.

International scientists have characterized the evolutionary patterns of a specific type of immune receptors called "Toll-like receptors" (TLRs) in different bat species. They compared these with receptors of other mammals and discovered that the bat receptors show unique differences. This may have consequences for the functional recognition of specific pathogens and therefore the resistance against these pathogens, and may help explain why bats are not affected by many pathogens which are a serious challenge to many other mammalian species.

The study was conducted by an international team from the Department of Wildlife Diseases of the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin in close collaboration with the Centre for Geogenetics of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the National Center for Research in Animal Microbiology of Mexico (CENID-INIFAP) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

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