Vereecke team - Host-Microbiota Interaction lab (HMI)

Research Field: Role of intestinal microbiota in inflammatory pathologies

Team leader: Prof. Dr. Lars Vereecke

Tel: +32 9 33 264 04

Research topic

The ‘Host-Microbiota Interaction’ lab (HMI) studies the complex interplay between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system, both locally and systemically. The lab investigates the fundamental mechanisms underlying immune pathologies including spondyloarthritis (SpA) and IBD using genetic mouse models, and studies the role of the intestinal microbiota during disease development. We have a strong interest in immune-modulating functions of enteric bacteria, fungi and helminths. The HMI lab is embedded in the department or Rheumatology (headed by Prof. Dirk Elewaut) at the Ghent University Hospital, and has a special focus on the mechanistic link between intestinal and joint inflammation (the gut-joint axis). The lab coordinates the Ghent Germfree and Gnotobiotic mouse facility and is part of the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’, a research consortium around intestinal inflammation at Ghent University.

Areas of expertise

  • Mucosal Immunology
  • Gut-Joint axis
  • Germfree and Gnotobiotic mouse technology
  • Inflammation

Technology transfer potential

  • Development of mouse models of SpA and IBD
  • Characterization of immune modulating components of the intestinal microbiota, with potential relevance as diagnostic marker, therapeutic target or pro-biotic
  • Characterization of disease mechanisms in SpA and IBD

Selected publications

  1. Catrysse L, et al. A20 prevents chronic liver inflammation and cancer by protecting hepatocytes from death.
    Cell Death Dis. 7(6), e2250, 2016.
  2. Slowicka K, et al. Optineurin deficiency in mice is associated with increased sensitivity to Salmonella but does not affect proinflammatory NF-κB signaling.
    Eur J Immunol. 2015.
  3. Vereecke L, et al. A20 controls intestinal homeostasis through cell-specific activities.
    Nat Commun. 5, 5103, 2014.
  4. Takahashi N, et al. RIPK1 ensures intestinal homeostasis by protecting the epithelium against apoptosis.
    Nature. 513(7516), 95-9, 2014.
  5. Vereecke L, et al. Enterocyte-specific A20 deficiency sensitizes to tumor necrosis factor-induced toxicity and experimental colitis.
    J Exp Med. 207, 1513-1523, 2010.

Schematic overview HMI lab. Click to enlarge.

Mucus produced by intestinal goblet cells preventing bacterial adhesion in the colon

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