Research ArticleLung Disease

Mortality factor 4 like 1 protein mediates epithelial cell death in a mouse model of pneumonia

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Oct 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 311, pp. 311ra171
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac7793

An anticoagulant to treat pneumonia?

Lung cell death is an important aspect of pneumonia, and yet there remains little insight into the pathways that reduce cell viability in this illness. Zou et al. found that a poorly described protein, Morf4l1, potently triggers cell death in mice with pneumonia. The life span of Morf4l1, normally a short-lived protein that is rapidly degraded by a protein complex called SCF-Fbxl18, is extended in pneumonia. By analyzing Morf4l1 structure, the authors showed that argatroban, an anticoagulant used clinically, blocks the injurious actions of Morf4l1 and prolongs survival of mice with experimental pneumonia.

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