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Host tissue responses to bacterial infection: A story of Mice and Men

Bacterial infection takes place in the complex microenvironment of the host tissue. Dependent on the infection type, this environment varies dramatically from, for example, the hydrodynamically active kidney tubule, or the harsh outer surface of skin. Our lab focusses on studying the intricacies of host-pathogen interaction in the context of complex tissue, an approach we term Tissue Microbiology. In this seminar I will present data from our rodent based in vivo kidney infection models which describes the roles of inflammation, coagulation and nerve-driven immunity in response to uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC).  Species specificity of bacterial pathogenesis is becoming increasingly recognized as a significant factor in infection outcome. I will also present our ongoing development of humanized models to study skin infection with Staphylococcus sp. I will show recent data which highlights the role of human skin resident immune cells in differentiating commensal Staphylococcus from the potentially pathogenic methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).


Lang JC,  Brutscher A,  Ehrström M,  Melican K. Tissue resident cells differentiate S. aureus from S. epidermidis via IL-1ß following barrier disruption in healthy human skin. bioRxiv 2024.02.19.580932; doi:

Steiner SE, Choong FX, Antypas H, Morado-Urbina CE, Schulz A, Bersellini Farinotti A, Bas DB, Svensson CI, Richter-Dahlfors A, Melican K. UPEC kidney infection triggers neuro-immune communication leading to modulation of local renal inflammation by splenic IFNγ. PLoS Pathog. 2021 May 20;17(5):e1009553. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009553. PMID: 34015044; PMCID: PMC8136731.

Schulz A, Jiang L, de Vor L, Ehrström M, Wermeling F, Eidsmo L, Melican K. Neutrophil Recruitment to Noninvasive MRSA at the Stratum Corneum of Human Skin Mediates Transient Colonization. Cell Rep. 2019 Oct 29;29(5):1074-1081.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.09.055. PMID: 31665625.