PhD Research Year 4 (CRS)
"The beta-defensin expression in response to neissaria meningitides: a potential mechanism for regulating nasopharyngeal carriage"
Dr M Baja-Elliott & Prof N Klein
Consolidated PG Fund
Description of Project:
Approximately 5-20% of the UK population is colonized with N. meningitidis, but there are only 3000 cases of invasive disease reported each year. Therefore the vast majority of the colonized population does not develop meningococcal disease. While the reasons for this are poorly understood, early host defense at the site of colonization, namely the nasopharyngeal epithelium, is likely to be a critical determinant in the balance between health and disease progression. The discovery that epithelia can produce antimicrobial peptides may provide a potential mechanism for regulating microbial colonization and consequent invasion. We have demonstrated the bactericidal activity of recombinant beta defensin peptides against the bacteria and are currently investigating the signalling pathways activated by the bacteria upon the host cells.
Boughan PK, Argent RH, Body-Malapel M, Park JH, Ewings KE, Bowie AG, Ong SJ, Cook SJ, Sorensen OE, Manzo BA, Inohara N, Klein NJ, Nuñez G, Atherton JC, Bajaj-Elliott M. Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-1 and epidermal growth factor receptor: critical regulators of beta-defensins during Helicobacter pylori infection. J Biol Chem. 2006 Apr 28;281(17):11637-48