A pinboard by
Khusraw Jamil

Graduate Student , University of Calgary


Human CD14+ monocyte-derived dendritic cells fail to process Cryptococcus gattii and activate T cell

INTRODUCTION: Cryptococcus gattii is a fungus that has recently appeared on Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland BC. The infection starts in the lung and causes devastating pneumonia and brain infections in otherwise healthy individuals, resulting in disability and even death. To date, more than 550 cases have occurred on Vancouver Island and the Pacific Northwest. The majority of these infections occur in patients with no identifiable immune suppression, and the mortality is more than 15%. This is a devastating illness, affecting people in the prime of their lives. It follows that the host immune system is critical for elimination of fungal pathogens such as C. gattii. However, it remains a mystery why otherwise healthy individuals are unable to defend themselves against C. gattii from the Vancouver Island Outbreak when they appear to mount an effective response to highly related organisms.

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Based on preliminary results from experiments, we suspect that Vancouver Island Outbreak C. gattii sabotages recognition by our immune system by hiding inside the very cells than initiate effective immunity. The goal of this proposal is to define the nature of the induced immune defects. As an emerging and novel pathogen with devastating consequences, we need to understand the infection and the host response if we are to optimally prevent/ manage the lung infection, which is why we will work directly with primary human immune cells. Further, the work may enhance our understanding of why some people get infections and others do not, and potentially inform vaccine strategies.