The cell biology of inflammation: From common traits to remarkable immunological adaptations

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Tissue damage triggers a rapid and robust inflammatory response in order to clear and repair a wound. Remarkably, many of the cell biology features that underlie the ability of leukocytes to home in to sites of injury and to fight infection—most of which are topics of intensive current research—were originally observed in various weird and wonderful translucent organisms over a century ago by Elie Metchnikoff, the “father of innate immunity,” who is credited with discovering phagocytes in 1882. In this review, we use Metchnikoff’s seminal lectures as a starting point to discuss the tremendous variety of cell biology features that underpin the function of these multitasking immune cells. Some of these are shared by other cell types (including aspects of motility, membrane trafficking, cell division, and death), but others are more unique features of innate immune cells, enabling them to fulfill their specialized functions, such as encapsulation of invading pathogens, cell–cell fusion in response to foreign bodies, and their self-sacrifice as occurs during NETosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202004003
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


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