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Histones as Target

Bacterial pathogens have developed subtle strategies to overcome our defenses, as reported by a team led by Pascale Cossart.1 They showed that a major toxin from Listeria monocytogenes induces a dramatic dephosphorylation and deacetylation of histone proteins. Histones closely associate to DNA and are thus active participants in gene regulation. The modifications induced by the bacterial toxin result in the decreased expression of a number of genes, including key immunity genes. Other toxins of the same family have similar effects, highlighting a common strategy used by pathogens to modulate the host’s response during the early stages of infection, via epigenetic regulation.

Notes :

1. M.A. Hamon et al., PNAS. 104: 13467-72. 2007.

Contacts :

Pascale Cossart,
pcossart@pasteur.fr


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