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Kevin Mora

Kevin Mora

The University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2021

Research Interests

Eosinophil-mediated clearance is blocked by a Bordetella blood-responsive regulon

Kevin Mora, Monica Cartelle Gestal, Simone Kurz, Uriel Blas-Machado, Margaret Dedloff, Mike Tiemeyer, Eric T Harvill

College of Veterinary Medicine (Mora) Department of Infectious Diseases (Cartelle Gestal, Harvill),

Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (Kurz, Tiemeyer) College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pathology (Blas-Machado) University of Georgia, Athens GA. Department of Biology, Clarkson University, Potsdam NY (Dedloff)

Bordetella spp. cause respiratory diseases in humans and animals. B. pertussisis the causative agent of whooping cough in humans and is restricted to this host, while B. bronchiseptica is able to cause respiratory illness in many mammals, including mice. This allows us to study the host/pathogen interaction in the natural infection setting in the robust murine model. A particular feature of Bordetella spp. infections is their capability to persist by down-regulating innate and adaptive response. Recent work from our lab lead to the discovery of one Bordetella spp. gene (bsr) that is involved in recognizing host immune signals and altering bacterial gene expression to adapt accordingly. We found that bsr interferes with host glycosylation by modifying host glycoterrain. These altered glycans in the secreted mucins lead to a more robust CD11b+ cell recruitment. Based on the glycan studied (SiglecF) and the CD11b+ cells numbers, we hypothesized that eosinophils may be involved in clearance of the infection. Our results revealed an increase of eosinophil recruitment in lungs, and a characteristic peak in the numbers of eosinophils in the spleen on day 7 coinciding with the peak of infection. To test the role of eosinophils in Bordetella spp. infections, eosinophil-deficient mice were intranasally challenged with 50 ml of PBS containing 5x105 bacteria, and the results revealed that eosinophils mediate Bordetella spp. clearance. Overall, our results demonstrate that although eosinophils were known for their role in allergies and parasite infections, they are necessary for the clearance of bacterial infections, possibly by mediating interactions with the adaptive response, opening new possibilities for treatments.

Research Grant: NIH AI122753. NIH AI116186. National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health UL1TR002378

Student Support: NIH T35 Training Grant 5T35OD010433-12

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