Research in the Eleftherianos lab uses viral and bacterial pathogens as well as parasitic nematodes together with the model host Drosophila to unveil the molecular processes that determine the outcome of host-pathogen interactions. Our goal is to clarify the mechanisms that regulate the relationship between microbial pathogenicity, the activation of host immune and inflammatory responses, and the emergence of infectious disease.
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The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is well established as an outstanding model for infection and immunity studies with its contribution recognized in the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Its major benefit is the development of a wide range of molecular and cellular tools, and applications for high throughput forward and reverse genetic/genomic screens.
The nematode parasite Heterorhabditis forms a mutualistic complex together with the Gram-negative bacteria Photorhabdus and they can both infect insects efficiently when they exist separately or together.
Heterorhabditis nematodes and Photorhabdus bacteria are excellent models for dissecting the molecular basis of nematode parasitism, bacterial pathogenicity and microbial symbiosis in relation to host innate immune function.