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Host Responses to Microbial Infection


Host Responses to Microbial Infection

Sérgio Filipe / Pedro Matos Pereira


Students attending this curricular unit should be able to:

  1. Recognize different components of the innate and adaptive immune system of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms;
  2. Name plant-triggered responses to eliminate invading microbes (in line with plant science research lines at the proposing institution);
  3. Identify topics related to cellular and molecular responses of a eukaryotic organism to a microbial infection;
  4. Describe several responses commonly observed in a bacterial infection and compare them with responses triggered in infections carried out by viruses, fungi and/or parasites;
  5. Integrate the different skills acquired during the course in order to appreciate both the complexity of defences of the infected organism and the mechanisms used by different microbes to evade/resist these responses.

Mechanism of induction of an immune response in an infected organism. Introduction to the adaptive immune system (humoral and cellular response). Introduction to the innate immune system (physical and chemical barriers, description of intracellular mechanisms that activate cytokine production or apoptosis, complement system deposition, phagocytosis mechanisms). Description and comparison of components of the immune system in different organisms. Responses triggered by a bacterial infection in the mouse model. Activation of the immune system in Drosophila melanogaster by a microbial infection. Regulation of the specificity of immune responses to infection by Gram-positive, Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Introduction to responses triggered in plants by a microbial infection. Host tolerance to activation of an immune response. Inhibition of an exacerbated activation in face of an invading agent.

The evaluation of a student in this course will have a written component (50%) and a continuous evaluation component (50%). In the written component, the student will have to make a two-page proposal for a scientific project that intends to solve an issue related to the subject of the course. The continuous assessment component will take into consideration the commitment and frequency in the classes

Main Bibliography

  1. Cellular and Molecular Immunology by Abul K. Abbas, Andrew H. Lichtman, Shiv Pillai. Elsevier 9th edition (2017) 608 pages ISBN-13: 978-0-32347-978-3

  2. Cellular Microbiology by Pascale Cossart (Editor), Patrice Boquet (Editor), Staffan Normark (Editor), Rino Rappuoli (Editor), Steffan Normark (Author). American Society Microbiology 2nd ed (2005) 636 pages ISBN-13: 978-1-55581-302-4

  3. The Immune Response to Infection by Stefan Kaufmann (Editor), Barry Rouse (Editor), David Sacks (Editor). American Society Microbiology (2010) 666 pages ISBN-13: 978-1-55581-514-1

  4. Research articles indicated by the lecturers.



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