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Sorting out host recognition of fungal infection

Objective

The fungus Candida albicans is a common cause of human infection with serious morbidity, but the organism is also a commensal yeast that is part of the normal gut microbiota. It is becoming increasingly clear that the composition of the microbiome plays an important role in health and disease. For instance, recently it was shown that commensal fungi in the gut can contribute to the severity of colitis (inflammation of the gut). Immune recognition of C. albicans is mediated by Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs) of innate immune cells. The major PRRs involved in fungal immune responses are C-type lectin receptors Dectin-1, DC-SIGN, Dectin-2, Mincle, Galectin-3 and Mannose Receptor. Signaling by C-type lectin receptors depends on the formation of signaling protein complexes, but these complexes are poorly characterized. We need to understand C-type lectin-mediated immune responses to fungi to improve diagnostics and generate new anti-fungal drugs and vaccines. My approach to increase our understanding of fungal immune recognition is to (1) Characterize C-type lectin receptor complexes that drive innate recognition of C. albicans using sortase technology (2) Study immune recognition of commensal and pathogenic Candida strains and isolates with fluorescent PRR binding domains and (3) Investigate the contribution of fungi to the development and/or severity of human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by quantitative proteomics. Fungal infections are on the rise so we need to understand how the immune system detects pathogenic behavior of commensal fungi. My expertise in the fungal host-pathogen field and the advanced technologies that I have developed put me in a unique position to advance our understanding of immune-fungal interactions. The results of this IIF project will offer a clear perspective on future clinical applications.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/mycology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/mycology/ethnomycology
  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/artificial intelligence/pattern recognition
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/immunology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins/proteomics
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/gastroenterology/inflammatory bowel disease
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/pharmacology and pharmacy/pharmaceutical drug/vaccines

Call for proposal

FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IIF
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IIF - International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)

Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT
Address
Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 183 469,80
Administrative Contact
Jos Van Putten (Prof.)