Enteric and respiratory diseases remain a major cause of mortality during neonate life and childhood within developing countries. This proposal will focus on bacteria that enter through or colonize enteric and respiratory mucosa and that are of main importance for public health in Latin America, i.e. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, and Bordetella pertussis.
The selected bacterial pathogens are associated with important rates of morbidity and mortality in South America, especially in young children and low socio-economic status individuals. Moreover, the strains and serotypes that cause infections are unique to the developing countries in this area and consequently, basic research and development of therapies and vaccines tailored to these local strains have been deserted by the European and North American scientific community.
The objectives of our concerted efforts are to gain in our understanding of the host-pathogen interaction in order to define novel strategies of interventions. For this purpose, we will study on the one hand, virulence mechanisms of bacterial pathogens and on the other hand, the early innate immune response of the host. This will allow to identify molecules from these bacteria that
(1) can be targeted by novel antibiotics (strain-specific virulence factors) and
(2) activate specifically protective mucosal innate immunity (conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns) in order to block the infections at the port of entry of bacteria.
Call for proposal
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