Jessica brought this paper to my attention; a group at UCSD found that fat cells in the skin protect against Staph aureus infection by producing an antimicrobial peptide. Nice story, and there’s an accompanying commentary article that is also a good read. They suggest that while it isn’t known how the adipocytes recognize Staph or other bacteria and know to produce the AMP, it could be happening through toll-like receptor signaling, since fat cells have TLRs. Didn’t know that! Cool stuff.
Primary article: http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/vj/sci/347/6217/67.abstract
Commentary article, “Killer Fat”: http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/vj/sci/347/6217/26.full