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December 6th, 2007
Surprisingly, the membrane invaginates through a spontaneous and autonomous movement and swallows pathogens. This mechanism has been demonstrated in cells, and also in a minimal artificial membrane system. An international collaboration between physicists, including Patricia Bassereau and her CNRS team, chemists, and cell biologists at the Institut Curie, has observed this process at work with a particular pathogen, Shiga toxin.
The work has been done by Ludger Johannes, Research Director at Inserm, and his CNRS Trafficking, Signaling, and Delivery team, using the Institut Curie's imaging equipment. The results shed new light on unexpected aspects of a fundamental process in biology—endocytosis(1). They also point to new leads in the search for the portal of entry of certain pathogenic agents, or to expedite the entry of drugs, therapeutic vaccines, or diagnostic agents in cancer cells. This work was published online in Nature of 29 November 2007.
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