Research: To tailor immune responses, mammalian immune cells can discriminate pathogenic from non-pathogenic bacteria by detecting pathogen-encoded specialized secretion apparatuses that translocate bacterial proteins into the cytosol of infected cell. Our laboratory uses the intracellular human pathogen Legionella pneumophila to uncover the mechanisms that regulate pathogen discrimination pathways in immune cells. Recently, we identified the eukaryotic metabolic checkpoint kinase mTOR as a central regulator of the immune response to Legionella. My project focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that allow mTOR to distinguish pathogenic from avirulent Legionella.
Supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P30-GM110703).