MRB, Route 1070
Microbiology & Immunology
Phone: (409)772-5265 | Fax: (409)747-5265
|PhD | 1996 | Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Lund University, Sweden|
|BS & Mathematical | 1983|
We study the molecular basis of the innate immune responses to Francisella tularensis. We focus on the interactions of F. tularensis with two important modules of the immune system: the complement system and dendritic cells (DCs). The complement system is involved in the immune responses both as a sensor that recognizes infectious agents and as a generator of effector molecules that mediate inflammation and the clearance of bacterial pathogens. DCs, the professional antigen presenting cells that are involved in bridging innate and adaptive immunity, are able to phagocytose F. tularensis through complement receptors and are activated by this pathogen. F. tularensis is both serum/complement resistant and has an enormous ability to grow in the intracellular milieu of all immune cells studied and especially macrophages and DCs. We hypothesize that complement resistance and intracellular growth are important virulence mechanisms of this pathogens. Studies of the molecular mechanisms of resistance to complement and phagocytosis mediated killing should contribute to the understanding of the immune evasion strategies of this highly virulent pathogen.
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