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Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Jul;3(7):557-68.

Pathogens: raft hijackers.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Oncology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología/Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Campus de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, Madrid E-28049, Spain.


Throughout evolution, organisms have developed immune-surveillance networks to protect themselves from potential pathogens. At the cellular level, the signalling events that regulate these defensive responses take place in membrane rafts--dynamic microdomains that are enriched in cholesterol and glycosphingolipids--that facilitate many protein-protein and lipid-protein interactions at the cell surface. Pathogens have evolved many strategies to ensure their own survival and to evade the host immune system, in some cases by hijacking rafts. However, understanding the means by which pathogens exploit rafts might lead to new therapeutic strategies to prevent or alleviate certain infectious diseases, such as those caused by HIV-1 or Ebola virus.

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