Protein & Cell

, Volume 3, Issue 8, pp 564–570 | Cite as

To forge a solid immune recognition



Phagocytosis and innate immune responses to solid structures are topics of interest and debate. Alum, monosodium urate, calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate, silica and by extension all solid entities draw varying degrees of attention from phagocytes, such as antigen presenting cells. For some, innocuous soluble metabolites turn into fierce irritants upon crystallization, pointing to divergent signaling mechanisms of a given substance in its soluble and solid states. Over the years, many mechanisms have been proposed, including phagocytic receptors, toll like receptors, and NACHT-LRRs (NLRs), as well as several other protein structure mediated recognition of the solids. Is there a more general mechanism for sensing solids? In this perspective, I present an alternative view on the topic that membrane lipids can engage solid surfaces, and the binding intensity leads to cellular activation. I argue from the stands of evolution and biological necessity, as well as the progression of our understanding of cellular membranes and phagocytosis. The effort is to invite debate of the topic from a less familiar yet equally thrilling viewing angle.


Lipid Lipid Raft Mandel Solid Structure Lipid Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, School of MedicineTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases; Snyder InstituteUniversity of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

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