Fungal and Bacterial Killing by Neutrophils

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Abstract

Neutrophils are professional phagocytes of the innate immune system that are essential to control bacterial and fungal infections. These cells engulf and kill invading microbes. Additionally, activated neutrophils are able to release neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). These fibers consist of chromatin decorated with antimicrobial proteins to trap and kill microbes. Appropriate quantitative methods are required to understand the nature of interactions of neutrophils with pathogens. Here we present assays to measure killing mediated by phagocytosis, by NETs, by a combination of both, and by granular extract. As examples, we use Candida albicans for fungal and Shigella flexneri for bacterial pathogens.