1. Blocking epigenetics to stop cancer

A chromatin-regulation protein controls the epigenetic reprogramming that drives acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Knockdown of this protein, which normally upregulates the oncogene Myc, selectively killed the AML cells, and suggests a new target for treating this aggressive disease.

J. Zuber et al., "RNAi screen identifies Brd4 as a therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukaemia," Nature, doi: 10.1038/nature10334, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

2. Inflammasome helpers

Inflammasomes activate innate immune inflammation, but how these proteins were activated was poorly understood. Now researchers discover a family of proteins called NAIPs, previously thought to play a non-essential role, which act as sensors that specifically detect several bacterial components and activate the inflammasome.

E.M. Kofoed, R.E. Vance, “Innate immune recognition of bacterial ligands by NAIPs determines inflammasome specificity,” Nature, doi: 10.1038/nature10394, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

3. Helicase senses invaders

A DNA...

Z. Zhang et al., "The helicase DDX41 senses intracellular DNA mediated by the adaptor STING in dendritic cells," Nat Immunol, 12:959-65, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

4. Wnt levels drive blood development

Although the role of the Wnt family of proteins in development is well established, its control of blood cell development has been controversial. Now researchers show that different blood cell lineages are generated by varying the level of Wnt.

T.C. Luis et al., "Canonical wnt signaling regulates hematopoiesis in a dosage-dependent fashion," Cell Stem Cell, 9:345-56, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

5. Tracing new blood

Using genetic bar-coding and high throughput sequencing, researchers used far fewer mice to track blood stem cells as they differentiate into various blood cell types, demonstrating that each stem cell does not contribute to all of the lineages equally.

R. Lu et al., "Tracking single hematopoietic stem cells in vivo using high-throughput sequencing in conjunction with viral genetic barcoding," Nat Biotechnol, 29:928-33, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

6. Damaged lung cells trafficked

Researchers find a subset of dendritic cells (DC)—antigen-presenting cells—that circulate in the lungs, engulf apoptotic cells, and travel to the lymph nodes to present their cargo. If these DCs activate anti-tumor immunity, it could have implications for lung-cancer immunotherapy.

A.N. Desch et al., "CD103+ pulmonary dendritic cells preferentially acquire and present apoptotic cell-associated antigen," J Exp Med, 208:1789-97, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

7. Immunological role for cell division protein

Cohesin, a molecule involved in separating sister chromatids during cell division, surprisingly, appears to play a role during T-cell receptor rearrangement—a process that gives the T-cells their extensive pathogen-detecting repertoire.

V.C. Seitan et al., "A role for cohesin in T-cell-receptor rearrangement and thymocyte differentiation,"Nature, 476:467-71, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

The F1000 Top 7 is a snapshot of the highest ranked articles from a 14-day period on Faculty of 1000 Immunology, as calculated on October 14, 2011. Faculty Members evaluate and rate the most important papers in their field. To see the latest rankings, search the database, and read daily evaluations, visit


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