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β-Glucans and Dectin-1

Authors

  • S. Vicky Tsoni,

    1. Division of Immunology, CLS, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • Gordon D. Brown

    1. Division of Immunology, CLS, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
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Address for correspondence: Gordon D. Brown, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Division of Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Private Bag X3, University of Cape Town, Lower Ground Floor, Wernher & Beit Building South, Groote Schuur Campus, Observatory, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa. Voice: +27 (0) 21 406 6684 (office), +27 (0) 21 406 6812 (lab); fax: +27 (0) 21 406 6684. gordon.brown@mweb.co.za

Abstract

β-Glucans are naturally occurring carbohydrates that possess immune-modulating activities, but their mechanisms of action are largely unknown. Recent discoveries, however, including identification of β-glucan receptors, such as dectin-1, have started to shed some light on the mechanisms underlying the properties of these carbohydrates. The characterization of dectin-1, in particular, has revealed some of the processes involved in β-glucan sensing, intracellular signaling, and induction of cellular responses and has provided new insights into the role of β-glucans in immunity and disease. Here we review both β-glucans and their receptor, dectin-1.

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