In vivo innate immune responses to fungal infection

Fisheries and aquaculture industries are important to the economic health of Maine, yet we still understand little about how the fish immune system fights disease. Mycosis is an important problem in the wild and in aquaculture, and greater understanding of the immune response to fungal infection will contribute to our ability to control fungal pathogens of commercially valuable fish. Fungi can also cause lethal disease in immunocompromised humans. Zebrafish can be used to model infections and identify conserved mechanisms in vertebrate immune response to fungi. The proposed project focuses on two basic research objectives to understand fish immune response to fungal infection and at the same time understand pathogenesis of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. The project will explore the role of specific immune cells and immune signaling pathways during fungal infection of the swim bladder epithelium. The results of these experiments are anticipated to provide important basic information about fish immunity, innate immunity at epithelial surfaces, and conserved mechanisms for immunity to fungi. It is hoped that these basic studies will eventually provide a basis for improved prevention and treatment of disease in aquaculture facilities to enhance this industry within the state of Maine and in general.

Investigators: Wheeler, R.; Kim, C.

Unit: Molecular and Biomedical Sciences

Termination Date: 30-Sep-17