A4: The regulatory role of fibroblastic reticular cells during intestinal bacterial infections

A4: The regulatory role of fibroblastic reticular cells during intestinal bacterial infections

Gastrointestinal infections with bacterial pathogens are responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. Fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) are stromal cells that orchestrate the microarchitecture and the immune cell composition within lymphoid organs and thus potentially play vital roles during infections. We found in preliminary experiments alterations in the intestinal FRC compartment during gut infection and identified host factors such as interferons ­that may contribute to these processes. In this project, we aim to further characterize signalling pathways in FRC controlling the structural dynamics and functional changes within lymphoid organs during infections with bacterial pathogens. Established infection models will be employed by advanced imaging techniques such as intravital- and light sheet microscopy. We will furthermore use in vitro experiments to characterize stromal cell responses by next generation sequencing and models systems with conditional inactivation of inflammation-associated transcription factors to define critical factors required for a stromal microenvironment providing effective pathogen clearance.

Schema Wirtz

Supervisor