UTSA COS Summer Research Experience for 2013
Respiratory Defenses Against Pulmonary Tularemia
Francisella tularensis is an intracellular Gram-negative bacterium that is the causative agent of tularemia. Inhalation of F. tularensis results in severe disease and a high fatality rate in humans. There is limited information on localized respiratory defenses against this organism. Dr. Arulanandam's lab has recently shown the involvement of mast cells in early defenses against pulmonary tularemia. They are currently examining the mechanisms by which mast cells modulate innate immune defenses against this pathogen, and as a model for other Gram negative bacteria. Moreover, they are characterizing the use of defined F. tularensis mutants as live attenuated vaccine candidates against pneumonic tularemia.