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New “decision aid” for CRISPR immune responses

Scientists show that target RNA levels influence defense against invaders


Friend or foe? Immune systems constantly face this question. They must recognize and clear foreign invaders without eliciting autoimmunity. Prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas systems recognize invaders based on genetic sequence. But what happens if the host genome shares the same sequences? A research team ...


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A bright spot for microbiological diagnostics

Researchers develop molecular probes to detect pathogens in clinical samples


The detection of bacterial pathogens in clinical samples is an important prerequisite for successful antimicrobial treatment. A team from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and Tel Aviv University, Israel, has now ...


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CRISPR discovery paves the way for novel COVID testing method

LEOPARD has the potential to revolutionize diagnostics


Am I infected with SARS-CoV-2? Is it one of the dangerous variants? Being able to answer these and more questions with a single efficient diagnostic test can be decisive for gauging the spread of disease and selecting the right therapy. In a study published in the journal "Science", researchers ...


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Researchers find the favourite food of an enigmatic intestinal bacterium

Plant fibres enable Prevotella bacteria to thrive in the microbiota


The digestive tract is densely populated with bacteria and other microorganisms. This intestinal microbiota helps the host utilise nutrients. Particularly plant fibres can only be broken down and absorbed with the help of intestinal bacteria. The composition of the microbiota is dynamic and ...


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Leap forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Researchers succeed in deep sequencing RNA of single bacteria


Bacteria show a wide range of capabilities in withstanding antibiotic treatment or attack by our immune system, which are great challenges in infection research. Scientists at the Würzburg-based Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), a site of the Helmholtz Centre for ...


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Researchers visualize the battle between virus and host cells at the single-cell level

An innovative method identifies newly activated genes within individual cells


Cells are equipped with multiple defense mechanisms to fight off intruders. Genes encode the building blocks of the response that must be activated during an enemy attack in an ordered manner. Scientists at the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) in Würzburg, one of the ...


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New diagnostic tool aids quality control in xenotransplantations

Bacterial protein recognises immunogenic sugar molecules on pig cells


Sugars are highly important molecules for all life. They convey vital signals, and thus participate in manifold biological processes (e.g. determination of blood-types and the formation of bacterial biofilms). Sugars are often recognized by specialized proteins called lectins. Researchers at the ...


Sensor of bacteria and viruses on high alert at the site of action

Researchers show: Sophisticated transport system helps immune cells quickly detect infections


"Danger!" signals TLR9, the molecular sensor, whenever it recognizes bacterial or viral genetic information, specifically DNA. Instantly, the immune system initiates the process of fighting off the infection. This initial protective mechanism is very fast because it focuses on recognition of ...


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