Published on November 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM
In their study, Gross and colleagues demonstrate that histones bound to lipid (fat) droplets can protect cells against bacteria without causing any of the harm normally associated with the presence of free histones. In experiments with lipid droplets purified from Drosophila fruit fly embryos, they show that lipid-bound histones can be released to kill bacteria.
The researchers injected similar numbers of bacteria into Drosophila embryos that contained lipid-bound histones and into embryos genetically modified to not contain them. They discovered that the histone-deficient flies were 14 times more likely to die of bacterial infections. Similar results were found in experiments on adult flies. Additional evidence suggested that histones might also protect mice against bacteria.
"Because numerous studies have now identified histones on lipid droplets in many different cells - from humans as well as mice and flies - it seems likely that this system may be quite general," Gross said.
Source: University of California - Irvine