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A fungal infection can kick off inflammation

Memphis, Tennessee, December 2, 2020

Researcher in dark jacket smiles while looking out a window.

Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, PhD, of Immunology, discovered how fungal infections activate the inflammasome.

Inflammasomes are part of the innate immune system. They are responsible for inflammation. St. Jude scientists are studying how fungal infections turn on the inflammasome.

Aspergillus fumigatus is a fungus that causes infection. The infection can be deadly, particularly to people with weakened immune systems.

“Inflammasomes are important parts of the immune system,” said Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, PhD, of Immunology. “Our prior work showed that fungal infections activate the inflammasome, but the mechanism was unknown.”

The scientists showed how A. fumigatus activates the inflammasome. The findings provide a clue to treating inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Nature published a report on this work.

Read the News Release

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