Basophils are the least abundant granulocytes found in the circulation. Until recently, their functions were poorly understood. In the past few years, the list of basophil functions in the context of immunity has dramatically increased. Thus, the need for basophil-deficient animal models to confirm these findings is imperative. In this issue of the JCI, Wada and colleagues introduce the first mouse model in which basophils are conditionally ablated in vivo. Using this model, they then uncover a nonredundant role for basophils in acquired immunity against tick infection.
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