Neutrophils are one of the first lines of defence of the immune system. They kill microorganisms effectively by phagocytosis and by the formation of extracellular structures, called Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs). NETs are made of chromatin and specific proteins and are released upon a unique cell death program that requires the production of radical oxygen species (ROS) and the relocation of neutrophil elastase to the nucleus. NETs help limit and control infection and also can activate the acquired immune system. The formation of NETs appears to be necessary for an efficient clearing of microbes but can also initiate and exacerbate autoimmune responses.
Arturo Zychlinsky was appointed director of the Department of Cellular Microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in 2001. He studied biology at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Mexico D. F., Mexico (1980 – 1985). In 1991, he received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the Rockefeller University, New York, USA. Afterwards, he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. From 1993 – 2001 he was professor at the Skirball Institute and Department of Microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine.
Moderation: Vincent Carl Jacobsen