A pinboard by
Katharine Goodall

Postdoctoral Fellow, Monash University


Uncovering a new mechanism for immune cell development

The immune system is comprised of a wide range of cells which are essential for combating the invasion of pathogens we encounter daily. Recently a number of 'non-classical' immune cells have been uncovered and, surprisingly, have been found to have an enormous impact on the host's ability to combat disease and cancer. One such cell is termed the gamma delta T cell, and present at highest abundance in the intestine and the liver where the natural, healthy bacteria are at the highest levels. These gamma delta T cells have been proposed to have an inhibitory effect on the immune system, so to not kill off the bacteria present in the gut. These gut bacteria have been attributed to maintaining a normal, functioning immune system, and the loss or abnormal distribution of these cells have been attributed to obesity, gastrointestinal disorders and global metabolism disorders. Therefore, without the inhibitory effects of these gamma delta T cells, the host would face a wide range of diseases and possibly an early death. My research has uncovered a completely new way for the gamma delta cells to develop and mature. The development of these cells is not well understood, so with the results of my research, we can now look into driving the development of these cells in people experiencing metabolic disorders, potentially now having a way to combat obesity and intestinal disorders which have a major impact on the health industry and general health.


The interplay between intestinal bacteria and host metabolism in health and disease: lessons from Drosophila melanogaster.

Abstract: All higher organisms negotiate a truce with their commensal microbes and battle pathogenic microbes on a daily basis. Much attention has been given to the role of the innate immune system in controlling intestinal microbes and to the strategies used by intestinal microbes to overcome the host immune response. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the metabolisms of intestinal microbes and their hosts are linked and that this interaction is equally important for host health and well-being. For instance, an individual's array of commensal microbes can influence their predisposition to chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. A better understanding of host-microbe metabolic interactions is important in defining the molecular bases of these disorders and could potentially lead to new therapeutic avenues. Key advances in this area have been made using Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we review studies that have explored the impact of both commensal and pathogenic intestinal microbes on Drosophila carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. These studies have helped to elucidate the metabolites produced by intestinal microbes, the intestinal receptors that sense these metabolites, and the signaling pathways through which these metabolites manipulate host metabolism. Furthermore, they suggest that targeting microbial metabolism could represent an effective therapeutic strategy for human metabolic diseases and intestinal infection.

Pub.: 05 Mar '16, Pinned: 27 Aug '17