Fifteen years ago, the proteins that Princeton neuroscientist Lisa Boulanger studies weren’t even thought to exist in the brain. Known as major histocompatibility complex class I, or MHCI proteins, they are essential for an adaptive immune response. The thought at the time was that the brain was an area of the body where the immune system wasn't active--it would be too dangerous if the immune system attacked neurons, cells that cannot be easily replaced. Instead, Boulanger found, MHCI proteins have unexpected, different jobs in the brain, where they are critical for the establishment of normal brain circuits.
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