Date: December 11, 2018. 13:00
Location: CCU Seminar Room
Title: The influence of commensal and pathogenic microbes on the enteric associated nervous system
Affiliation: Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA
Enteric–associated neurons (EANs) comprise a numerous and heterogeneous population of neurons that monitor and respond to various signals within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The vast majority of luminal stimuli in the GI tract are derived from commensal microbes. We are interested in studying how the enteric associated nervous system is able to integrate changes in the microbiota and subsequently modulate intestinal function. Luminal signals, including those from microbes, can be sensed by EANs whose cell bodies reside within the GI tissue (intrinsic) as well as those that are located in distinct ganglia outside of the intestine (extrinsic). In order to explore how commensal and pathogenic microbes can influence the EANs, we have adapted modern neuroscience tools and techniques to the gut. Through a combination of imaging, retrograde tracing, translational profiling, and chemogenetics we have made two discoveries that provide insight into homeostatic and neuro-immune EAN functions. Commensal microbes provide steady-state control of extrinsic sympathetic neurons, while pathogens such as Salmonella trigger EAN cell death that may be balanced by macrophage-neuron interactions. Through further insight into the vast EAN network, we hope to advance our understanding of how gut signals can influence both local and extra-intestinal physiology.