Neutrophils are the “foot soldiers” of the immune system: abundant and active, they are the first line of defense when we are exposed to foreign microbial invaders. To confront these invaders, they must first exit the circulatory system and enter infected tissues. Failure in this process, as exemplified by diseases like leukocyte adhesion deficiency-1 (LAD-1), can be fatal.

Exiting the circulatory system relies on cell-cell interaction/communication, traditionally achieved through protein-protein interactions.  However, researchers at Yale have demonstrated that cell-surface RNAs also play a critical role in the process. RNAs – single stranded copies of DNA that typically act as templates for protein production – are not normally detected outside the cell, and have never been shown to be directly implicated in cell-cell interaction.

This discovery raises questions about other RNAs present on the cell surface and their roles in maintaining our health. What are these RNAs, what molecules do they interact with, and how do they contribute to cellular interactions and overall well-being?

Yale Press Release