University of Louisville scientists aim to disarm Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague bacteria

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Neutrophils are the body’s first line of defense against invaders, but Yersinia pestis, the bacteria responsible for bubonic and pneumonic plague, can evade the immune system, causing fatal infections. Researchers at the University of Louisville are studying how Y. pestis evades the immune system to apply this knowledge to control other pathogens. Y. pestis suppresses leukotriene B4 signals, and researchers aim to understand how to prevent this suppression, possibly leading to more effective treatments. Researchers at UofL have discovered how Y. pestis acquires nutrients and hides from the immune system in order to survive. Since Y. pestis can be used as a bioweapon, they study it in Biosafety Level 3 facilities.

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