Research ArticleINNATE IMMUNITY

Skin infections are eliminated by cooperation of the fibrinolytic and innate immune systems

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Science Immunology  22 Sep 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 15, eaan2725
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aan2725

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There’s more than one way to skin an infection

There are two phases of innate immune control of skin infection by Candida albicans—protective containment and elimination. Now, Santus et al. report that early activation of the transcript factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) balances these two phases. During the containment phase, NFAT regulates active TGF-β expression, which induces collagen deposition and traps the microbe. During the elimination phase, NFAT induces IFN-γ that promotes skin ulceration and microbial expulsion. These functions are not restricted to Candida because cross-talk between the innate immune and fibrinolytic responses also contributed to defense against Staphylococcus aureus. This cooperation is critical to minimizing tissue damage while fighting infection.