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Plenary Lecture 4: Phage and Origins of the Immune System

Wednesday 10th September 2014 - 15:45 to 16:20
INI Seminar Room 1
Immune responses and mucosal surfaces of corals and humans are strikingly similar despite greater than 500 million years of divergence. Here we show that humans and phage both use bacteriophage to protect against bacteria and establish microbiomes. This Bacteriophage Adherence to Mucus (BAM) model is applicable to all metazoans. The model links hypervariable phage capsid decoration proteins with the adherence of phage to mucus and it's consequent reduced bacterial pathogenesis of underlying host epithelium. The relationships delineated make the world's most abundant biological entities central to the metazoan immune system. In so doing, they advance our understanding of immunology and the microbial ecology of a key metazoan-associated environments, and will open new directions in immunological engineering.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons