A research group comprised of Professor Ryo Goitsuka (Division of Development and Aging, Research Institute for Biological Sciences, TUS); Professor Max Cooper of the University of Alabama, USA; and others discovered a bactericidal peptide in M cells that is connected with gut immunity.
M cells exist near the epithelium of the intestines. They ingest antigens from the digestive tract and deliver them to the immune system. The peptide that was discovered through this research is located specifically in M cells, which raises the possibility that it prevents cell infection from the digestive tract while also serving an important role in controlling gut immunity.
Utilizing this bactericidal peptide, the research team is engaged in study toward development of a drug delivery system that can deliver medicines specifically to M cells.
The results of this research were announced in the online version of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (dated September 7) as well as in Japanese newspapers.
Among other publications, this research is described in the following sources: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, online version (September 7) http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0707037104v1