Identification of Candida albicans hypha-specific moieties activating epithelial innate immune responses
1st Supervisor: Dr Julian Naglik
2nd Supervisor: Professor Stephen Challacombe
Description of project
Discrimination between harmless commensals and damaging pathogens is one of the most important functions of mucosal tissues. In recent work we have identified a MAPK-based innate effector mechanism enabling the oral epithelial cell to discriminate between the yeast (commensal) and hyphal (pathogenic) state of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. This differential recognition of yeast and hyphae results in the induction of targeted pro-inflammatory innate responses specifically to hyphae, which in turn leads to a protective host phenotype.
To identify the yeast- and hypha-specific moieties that subvert or activate this protective epithelial innate response mechanism against C. albicans.
Key Goals include:
The identification of C. albicans moieties that
(i) are essential for interactions with epithelial cells
(ii) activate the MAPK-based innate effector response and
(iii) promote fungal pathogenicity.
This project has the potential to identify novel fungal moieties that determine whether a mucosal pathogen colonises, infects or is cleared by the host.
Duration of project: 3 years
Contact for further information:
Dr Julian Naglik
Research Topic: Mucosal Immunology & Oral Medicine
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