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  • thumbnail of 2017 KummerNeuroscience Seminar Series:
    Friday, June 30th, 2017 , 11:30 am, Salle des Conférences (R229), Centre Universitaire des Saints-Pères, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, 75006 Paris
    Wolfgang Kummer, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Head of Department, Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Giessen University, Germany

    Title: The taste of infection


    A peculiar cell type of the respiratory and gastrointestinal epithelia, originally termed “brush cell” or “tuft cell” by electron microscopists because of its apical tuft of microvilli, utilizes the canonical bitter taste transduction cascade know from oropharyngeal taste buds to detect potential hazardous compounds, e.g. bacterial products. Upon stimulation, this cell initiates protective reflexes and local inflammatory responses through release of acetylcholine and chemokines. Guided by the understanding of these cells as sentinels, they have been newly discovered at previously unrecognized anatomical locations, including the auditory tube, the urethra, and the conjunctiva. Unexpectedly, they also have been identified in the epithelial network of the thymic medulla. The potential implications of the discovery of this novel cell type are enormous and far reaching, as these cells might be involved in monitoring and preventing ascending bacterial infection. However, although appealing, this is still speculative, since the actual number of distinct chemosensory cell types needs to be finally clarified, as well as their embryological origin, developmental dynamics, receptor equipment, modes of signalling to adjacent nerve fibres and other cells, repertoire of chemo- and cytokines, involvement in pathogenesis of diseases and many other aspects. The seminar talk will present yet unpublished data demonstrating direct responses to a novel class of bacterial products, paracrine cholinergic signalling, and dynamics of cell numbers and their role in bacterial infection.

    Those interested in meeting with the speaker please contact Eric Krejci.