Advances in Cell and Molecular Biology of Membranes and Organelles Volume 5 - Phagocytosis: the Host edited by Alan M. Tartakoff; volume editor, Siamon Gordon JAI Press Inc./Ablex Publishing Corp. (1999) pp. 521. ISBN 1–55938-999-0 $147.50 Over the last few years, cell biology has become a dominant approach in several disciplines of the life sciences, including the study of phagocytic cells! Before, with exceptions, the science of phagocytosis had often remained descriptive, with microbiologists providing detailed descriptions of the various types and stages of internalization and killing or survival of the pathogenic microorganisms, and immunologists providing an exhaustive description of the complex processes of microbe degradation, antigen processing and presentation following the phagocytic process per se. Phagocytosis: the Host excellently reflects the revolution that has occurred in this field. In other words, the science of phagocytosis is now dominated by an analytical approach based on deciphering the signals that carry out each of the critical steps of the process. Edited by a master of the discipline, in 21 chapters, this book - with great justice dedicated to the late Zanvil A. Cohn - covers the molecular and cellular aspects of phagocytic processes in a logical progression. The best specialists in the field have risen to the challenge. Four chapters are devoted to receptors, certainly representing one of the best and most exhaustive current reviews of this field. Of particular interest are the recent developments on scavenging receptors with regard to phagocytosis of both microbes and apoptotic bodies. In the next three chapters, signalling makes a spectacular entry: our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the cytoskeleton is exponentially increasing and finds here its perfect niche. To this section might have been added the chapter entitled ‘The Phagocytic Actin Cytoskeleton’, which appears in the next section of four chapters devoted to ‘the pathway’, in other words, the maturation of phagosomes. Here again, progress has been tremendous in understanding the logics of maturation pathways and we are very much looking forward to the next volume Phagocytosis: the Microbes, which will show how these microbes can perturb, to their profit, phagosomal maturation in order to ‘carve’ a niche which permits their survival. A splendid example of coevolution. The last five chapters form a section (Responses) that encompasses most of the effector mechanisms that link the phagocytic event to the immune response, a domain that dictates the subtle transition between the innate and the adaptative immune response. The antimicrobial mechanisms of phagocytic cells are largely described here, including antimicrobial peptides, in often overlapping chapters. This does not matter at all because, again, the best specialists have gathered to produce a single chapter and the science presented is of the highest quality. So, altogether, this is a splendid contribution that will represent a keystone in the fast moving field of phagocytosis. If this reader had one criticism, it would be the illustrations. For a field that is extremely prone to rich illustrations, figures are generally scarce and grey, and the reproduction of the electron microscopy images is generally poor in definition, brightness and contrast. This should not deter anyone interested in the field from acquiring this volume and its brother volume on interactions with microbes. No doubt this, for the years to come, will be a reference text for phagocytosis. Microbiologists, immunologists and cell biologists, both students and senior scientists will find here updated information and all the relevant and most recent references (up to 2500).

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