Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Hide and Sneak

SARS-CoV-2 turns off a key immune protein to evade detection

03 January 2022

Hide and Sneak

When a virus enters a cell and starts taking over the machinery, an immune protein called major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I goes into action. The complex collects pieces of viral proteins and displays them on the cell surface alerting other immune cells to the presence of the invader and directing the cells to attack. But some viruses are crafty and, by crippling the MHC class I pathway, can hide from the host immune system at least to some extent. Among these evasive viruses is SARS-CoV-2, which recent research shows turns off a key MHC class I-activating protein called NLRC5. An infected cell is shown here, coloured green, surrounded by uninfected cells that still express NLRC5 (reddish purple). Figuring out the mechanics of SARS-CoV-2’s immune evading tactics may inform the design of novel therapeutics that, if applied early during infection, could boost the host response and shorten the illness.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.