R01EY034239 : Inflammasome-mediated corneal epithelial cell defenses inhibited by pathogenic bacteria

The healthy corneal surface is an effective barrier to bacteria, yet the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is able to infect the eye during contact lens wear. We discovered that corneal epithelial cells normally undergo pyroptosis, an inflammatory and lytic programmed cell death, in response to bacterial invasion; however, P. aeruginosa inhibits this host response with one of its toxins, Exotoxin S. We will investigate the importance of pyroptosis in resolving microbial encounters at the ocular surface, and also identify how P. aeruginosa is able to subvert this host defense mechanism.


Jonathan Kirk

Patrick Mitchell