VUMC Main Calendar Events

  • 6/27/2017
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Strategy and Structure in Host-Pathogen Conflicts

    Infection, Inflammation & Immunity Frontiers Seminar Series

    Russell E. Vance, PhD

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis, University of California, Berkeley

    Strategy and Structure in Host-Pathogen Conflicts

     To initiate responses to infection, the innate immune system deploys germline-encoded receptors that detect conserved microbial ligands. In response, pathogens attempt to evade innate immune recognition mutation of the recognized ligands. Such struggles between pathogens and their hosts are sometimes referred to as evolutionary arms races. Although some innate immune receptors recognize relatively invariant ligands, such as double-stranded DNA, other innate receptors engage more variable ligands. For example, my laboratory has studied a family of cytosolic immune receptors, called NAIPs, that recognize specific bacterial proteins, such as flagellin. Given that large population sizes and short generation times provide pathogens with a vast potential capacity for rapid evolution to evade immune surveillance, an interesting question is how the innate immune system is able to maintain recognition of mutable pathogen ligands over evolutionary time. In my seminar, I will discuss recent structural and functional work that provides some insight into this question. I will also describe our recent work on the in vivo functions of the NAIP immune sensors. These studies highlight how the innate immune system must balance its role in host defense against its potential for initiation of severe autoimmune pathology.


    Sponsored by: Vanderbilt Centers for Immunobiology, Microbial Pathogenesis, Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Medicine Divisions of Rheumatology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and Infectious Diseases

    Contact: Eve Stephens

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